Thompson rides strong second half to road win at Calera

Published 10:15 am Saturday, December 4, 2021

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Special to the Reporter

CALERA – The energy was electric on Friday, Dec. 3 at Calera High School, as the Thompson Warriors made the short trip south to Calera and picked up a tight 68-61 victory against the Eagles.

“I felt like the way our guys competed, any time you play a good Calera team like this, especially on the road, if you’re not playing hard, you’re going to get beat,” Thompson coach Dru Powell said after the game. “I was excited about the effort that our guys gave and just the way we were able to close out the game.”

The game was a back-and-forth affair that eventually saw Thompson go ahead in the third quarter and keep its lead for good despite Calera’s relentless effort.

The teams traded blows in an energetic first quarter that saw Thompson end the period with a 15-13 lead.

Carson Pringle went down with an injury early in the game, but he returned shortly after to shore up the Warriors’ post presence and finish with 12 points in a big night.

Xzayvion Childress, however, opened the second quarter with a step back 3-pointer to give Calera the lead and energize the home crowd.

Despite having seven fouls by the six-minute mark of the second quarter, the Eagles kept their lead and played cleaner than before for much of the second quarter, even leading 24-17 with just more than four minutes to go.

Thompson kept it close, however, as Calera went into the half with a 34-31 lead.

Thompson flipped a switch coming out of the break, opening the second half with a strong shooting performance, causing Calera to call timeout with the Warriors now up 44-36 just three minutes into the quarter.

The timeout did little to slow Thompson’s momentum, as back-to-back threes by Tre Adolphus put the Warriors up 14.

“I think we defended a little bit better,” Powell said of the difference coming out of the locker room. “You know X [Childress] is a great player, he really hurt us in the first half. He’s capable of that, and I felt like we rebounded the ball a little bit better and was able to get into some offense.”

The last part of the quarter was more evenly matched, but Thompson still maintained control, taking a 54-43 advantage into the final period.

Calera would try to make things interesting in the fourth quarter by chipping away at the Thompson lead, and before they knew it, the Eagles were only down by seven midway through the final period.

For as close as Calera got, Thompson kept making enough shots to hold off the Eagles and held fast on defense to polish off the 68-61 win on the road.

Powell was full of complements for his opposition after the game, and proud that his team was able to grind out a hard win away from home.

“I think we’ve learned that we can beat good teams on the road,” he said. “You know, we got beat last game on the road, so it was really great to come here to this awesome environment and get a good win.”

Five Warriors scored in double figures, with Wesley Roberson leading the way with 14 points and Jay Green scoring 12 as he went a perfect 5-5 from the free throw line. Green and Masiah Robinson finished with 12 and 11, respectively.

Childress was as advertised on the night, dropping a game-high 26 points and five 3-pointers.