One of Calhoun boys basketball’s trademarks over the past few seasons as they have racked up five straight region titles is full-effort, stingy man-to-man defense. After an up-and-down season so far in 2017-18, they looked like the Jackets of old in that regard on Tuesday night.
Calhoun put together a stellar four-quarter defensive effort and got some big contributions offensively from multiple guys to earn a 60-47 home victory on Tuesday against 6-AAA South subregion foe Adairsville. For the Jackets (5-12, 1-3) it was their first subregion win and something Calhoun coach Vince Layson said he hopes his team can build on in the final weeks of the regular season.
“We finally got a few days of practice in a row after playing so many games the last several weeks, and we’ve been focused on getting back to playing good man-to-man defense,” said Layson. “We had to do some different thing early in the year defensively based on personnel and other factors, but we have gotten back to what we think we do best. And we excelled at that tonight. I’m hoping that this win is going to give us some confidence. We’ve played good basketball in spurts this year, but to come out and compete in all four quarters tonight like we did, I was really impressed. We got a lead and then we closed it out. This should spark us a little and hopefully give us what we need to finish strong.”
Calhoun built a 17-11 lead after the first quarter and maintained that six-point lead going to the half ahead 29-23. They continued the same pattern in the second half as they build a double-digit lead in the third and fourth quarters multiple times and answered every bucket the Tigers (11-10, 5-1 subregion) got. The Jackets didn’t allow Adairsville to make consecutive, unanswered buckets the entire second half.
Calhoun led 42-33 at the end of the third quarter, and Adairsville never got any closer than eight in the fourth.
Davis Allen led the scoring for Calhoun with a game-high 18 points, including going 4-of-6 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter and snatching down some huge rebounds at big points throughout the game.
“(Davis) is one of those guys that you don’t have to worry about. He’s going to show up and give his best effort every single night,” said Layson. “He is a competitor, and that along with his talent is a very good combination. He did a great job on the boards for us tonight and made big free throws down the stretch.”
Tononcito Martha added 14 points for the Jackets, all coming in the second half, and Xaxton Goodson was the third scorer in double figures with 12 as he stepped in to fill the void left by regular starter Chase Goble, who didn’t play on Tuesday.
“Tononcito is our energy guy,” said Layson. “He’s not the most polished basketball player we have, but he gets to 50-50 balls and gets big rebounds to give us extra possessions. Our guards were able to handle Adairsville’s pressure, and Tononcito was the beneficiary of that, getting some easy lay-ups ahead of the defense.
“Xaxton stepped up big tonight with Chase being out. We didn’t know he would be the starter until just before the game. He’s come in every day at practice and earned his playing time, and he made the most of his opportunity tonight. He knocked down some shots and got some big rebounds.”
Bralin Barton added seven for the Jackets, and Porter Law scored six.
Calhoun did a solid job of limiting Adairsville’s leading scorers, Cody Henderson and Hunter Hice. They held Henderson to 14 points and only four in the second half, and Hice scored 12 for the Tigers. Mason Boswell added 10, and Ethan Belcher scored seven.
The Jackets are back at home on Friday to host Murray County at 8:30 p.m.