Calera pulls off comeback to beat Chelsea in Double OT

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

CALERA – With four minutes left in an area contest with the Chelsea Hornets on Friday, Jan. 10, the Calera Eagles trailed by 13 points and seemed to be on their way to a 0-2 start to area play.

But instead, the stage was set for not just a dramatic comeback, but a wild finish.

Over the final few minutes of the fourth quarter, Calera erased that deficit to tie the game and force overtime.

Having stolen all momentum near the end of the fourth quarter, the Eagles had an advantage early in overtime and played with a three-point lead for most of the overtime period.

Chelsea, however, wasn’t ready to let the game slip away that easily. The Hornets trailed 56-53 with 11.8 seconds to play, but with two seconds left in the extra frame, Jordan Thomas drained a 3-pointer as the seconds ticked off the clock to tie the game once more and force a second overtime.

But again in the second extra period, Calera was able to jump out and play with the lead again. Chelsea hung around and had chances all the way through the final seconds of the game, but the Eagles capitalized on playing with the lead by making free throws down the stretch to ice the game for a 68-63 victory.

A big reason for that comeback win was stellar play from Duke Chambers, who put up 31 points in the game for Calera. He made 12 of his 14 free throws and nine of his 16 field goals in the win.

For a while, however, it didn’t look like he would be able to lead the team to a win with the way Chelsea’s defense played throughout the night.

For the first three quarters of action, the Hornets limited Calera to 10 points or less.

That allowed Chelsea to consistently build a lead throughout those quarters.

In the opening two quarters, the Hornets posted 12 points each, which allowed them to take a 24-19 lead into the half. At that point, neither team had done much to separate themselves from the other.

That changed in the third quarter.

Chelsea came out and posted an 18-point period out of the halftime break thanks to a consistent team effort that included a 7-7 mark at the free throw line.

That finally created some separation, as Chelsea took a 42-29 lead into the final quarter of play. But it became the first of two lopsided quarters for each team in the second half, as Calera came out an entirely different team.

The Eagles came out and posted 21 points in the period behind eight from Chambers and six from Isaiah Green. Their defense also stepped up and limited Chelsea to just eight points, the Hornets’ lowest total of the game.

But the biggest key came at the line in the fourth quarter. Chelsea missed six of its eight free throws in the period after entering the frame 14-19 from the line. Calera, on the other hand, made six of its nine in the final quarter.

That led to the tie game and the overtime excitement and the eventual win by Calera. In addition to Chambers, Green posted 16 points for the Eagles in the win.

Chelsea was led by 15 points from Thomas in an impressive game, while Jacob Tierney finished with 12 and Andrew Messier 11 points to give the Hornets three double-figure scorers.