Coming in off of two days of practice with the full team together due to the football team’s state championship run, Calhoun went out on the court and earned a business-like win to open the season.
The Jackets built a steady lead at the break and continued to extend their advantage in the second half to get a 50-38 win on their home court over North Murray on Tuesday night.
Calhoun coach Vince Layson said he wasn’t expecting the most crisp effort due to the lack of practice time, but he was pleased with how his group did what it took to earn a season-opening victory.
“We knew it was probably going to be ugly on offense,” said Layson, who is starting his sixth season at the helm. “But our defense was good, and that made up for it a good bit. We switched it up on them a little during the game going some zone and some man, and that seemed to help a lot. Overall, it was a pretty good outing. To hold them to 38 points is good, and there were a lot of other positives. We rebounded it well and didn’t turn it over much. But the offense will definitely take some time to gel.”
Calhoun (1-0) led 13-11 after one quarter and continued to stymie North Murray’s offense in the second quarter to take a 28-23 advantage into the locker room at the half.
The Jackets slowed the game down even more in the second half and held the Mountaineers (1-7) to seven points in the third and eight points in the fourth while continuing their consistent offensive night. They led 39-30 going into the final quarter and built as much as a 14-point lead two different times at 46-32 and 48-34 in the fourth as the game was never really in doubt over the final minutes.
Layson said he thought pushing the ball up the court could help out the offense early on, but that strategy changed later on in the game.
“We really thought we would be limited offensively just based on lack of practice time so we definitely wanted to get in transition and try to get some easy buckets,” said Layson. “That kind of went by the wayside after our passing wasn’t as on point. We knew we were going to have muddy it up coming out for the second half and try to make it a more grinding, defensive game.”
Davis Allen and Chase Goble shared the scoring lead for Calhoun. Allen uses his length, skill and anticipation to score 13 points, block eight shots and pull down six rebounds, and Goble displayed his inside-outside game with 13 points, including a pair of 3-pointers and a punctuation dunk for the final basket of the game.
“I was really surprised with Davis on Sunday when he came into practice right out of football,” said Layson. “It didn’t look like he had lost anything on his touch and overall game. He knows his role on this team, and he knows we’re going to play through him a lot. I’m glad he picked up right where he left off last season.
“Chase is one of the better perimeter shooters we have. With his size and ability to shoot it, he is a defensive problem for teams. He will change what teams do defensively against us. He’s going to be big for us, especially when he’s hitting perimeter shots.”
Kaylan Aker was the third Jacket in double figures with 10 points. He also added six rebounds. Point guard Porter Law scored six and added eight assists.
Waylyn James was the only North Murray player to reach double figures with 14 points. He scored 12 of those in the first half before Calhoun limited him with their strong defense in the final two quarters. Chasin Buckner and Thomas Petty each added six for the Mountaineers.
Layson said that he will definitely take the win, but his team has a long way to go in order to reach their high goals for the end of the season. The Jackets are looking to continue their consecutive region title streak this season which now stands at five.
“It’s always a positive to get a win,” said Layson. “But I told them after the game that we’ve got to come in and get better every single day. I think we can get there, but these first few weeks of the season might be a struggle. That is going to be okay though if we learn from it and finish strong.”
Calhoun is on the road on Friday for a non-region test at Model at 8:30 p.m. The will host Cartersville on Saturday at 4 p.m.