Calera wins Class 6A, Area 8 title over Pelham

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

HELENA – After being upset by the Pelham Panthers in a 60-58 game back on Jan. 24, the Calera Eagles were hoping to get one more crack at the Panthers in the area tournament, and that’s what happened on Friday, Feb. 7, as the two teams met in the Class 6A, Area 8 championship.

While Pelham not only won that game, but upset No. 1 seed and host Helena in the first round of the tournament, the Eagles still felt as if they had let that game slip away as the better team.

And in the rematch, they got to take out a lot of frustration en route to a 76-43 victory to claim the area title. The Eagles dominated from a 16-2 first quarter all the way to the end to pick up the victory and go into the Sweet 16 with confidence.

Isaiah Green led the way for Calera with 19 points, all of which came in the second and third quarters, while Paris Whatley added 10 points. Beyond that, Duke Chambers, Jordan Eggleston, Xzayvion Childress and Keshawn Haynes each had nine points in a balanced effort.

But the most impressive stat of the night came on the defensive end of the floor for Calera in the first quarter.

After the offense put up 16 points behind four players scoring at least three points, the Eagles’ defense allowed just one field goal from Pelham to take a 14-point lead at the end of one.

That paved the way for Calera, as Pelham was put in a situation of having to battle back the entire night, which the Eagles made extremely difficult with their offensive output.

In the second quarter, the Eagles put up their first of two consecutive quarters with at least 20 points. This is when Green stepped his game, knocking down 12 points on six made field goals to help Calera post 20 points, which outscored the Panthers by six to help the Eagles take a 36-16 lead into the break.

Sensing they were one solid quarter from putting the game away, the Eagles dominated on the offensive end in the third quarter. Green’s 12-point second quarter seemed to rub off on the rest of the team in the third.

While he posted seven more, Eggleston added six points, Childress posted five and Whatley had four to help the Eagles post 25 points.

With Pelham’s offense scoring just 12 points, Calera was able to open up a 61-28 lead heading to the final quarter of play.

With that lead, the outcome was never in question in the final quarter, as Calera put the game away with 15 more points in the fourth.

Calera will take on Opelika in the sub-regional round of the playoffs on Tuesday, Feb. 11, while Pelham will take on Russell County.