Calhoun's Anna George

Calhoun’s Anna George (center) goes up for a shot in the paint between Ringgold defenders in the first half on Wednesday. (Shelly Dortch, For the Calhoun Times)

DORTCH

The Calhoun Lady Jackets used the same recipe at the start of each half on Wednesday night of forcing turnovers and getting easy buckets thanks to their full-court press for big runs, and that equaled out to a solid 54-41 win at home over Region 6-AAA crossover foe Ringgold.

The Lady Jackets (7-7) cranked up the pace early in the first quarter as they jumped out to a 16-0 lead with most of those points coming in transition off of steals forced by their press. After they saw the lead trimmed to five at the half, Calhoun came out in the third quarter and put together a 10-0 run in similar fashion to retake control of the game and never give it back.

Calhoun coach Kayla Ralston said her team showed once again what they are capable of when they play with full effort defensively.

“Our press looked great at the start of the game because we got after it, forced a lot of turnovers and got easy baskets because of it,” said Ralston. “Overall, I’m very pleased with our defense tonight. I know we feed off that, and it showed tonight. When we play defense with that much intensity and effort, it makes life so much easier for us, especially turning that defense into easy offense.”

Ringgold (9-7) bounced back from their slow start and, after trailing 16-2 at the end of the first quarter, got right back in the game with a big second. They ended the first half on a 14-2 run to cut the deficit to 25-20 at the half.

However, Calhoun got going again at a high pace to start the third, and their 10-0 run put to rest any real possibility of a Lady Tigers’ comeback. The Lady Jackets eventually led 42-26 at the end of the third quarter and maintained a double-digit lead from there with Ringgold getting no closer than 10 in the fourth.

“I think we got a little tired in the second quarter, and Ringgold made a few adjustments to make a run and get back in the game,” said Ralston. “I knew they weren’t going to lay down and that they are well-coached team. But at halftime, the girls said they wanted to go back at it with the press in the third quarter so we did, and they got after it again. We put a nice run together and were able to build our lead back up.”

Erin Davis was huge once again for Calhoun with a game-high 27 points, including 19 in the second half. She used her instincts to help force several turnovers and then her speed to get out in front of the Ringgold defense in transition and get several lay-ups.

Calhoun also used their advantage in the paint and got good production from their post duo of Maggie McBrayer and Anna George, who scored nine points and eight points, respectively. When the Lady Jackets weren’t able to get scores in transition, they were able to dump the ball into the post for points and also get some buckets off of offensive rebounds.

Ringgold’s Rachel Akers led her team with 11 points, and Shelby Cole scored eight.

Ralston said it was good to get a win for several reasons, including being back at home for the first time in almost a month, bouncing back from a really tough night at Northwest Whitfield on Tuesday and earning the victory over Ringgold, who they have built a bit of a rivalry with over the past few years.

“It’s always a big win anytime we’re able to beat Ringgold,” said Ralston. “They are a very consistent program under Coach (Margaret) Stockburger, and we’ve had a little rivalry with them recently. Plus, it’s always good to win here on our home court, and we were able to bounce back after a really ugly loss at Northwest. This is a big region crossover win, and hopefully, we can use it to get some momentum going and have consistent stretch of good efforts over the next several weeks.”

Calhoun is on the road for a subregion showdown at Bremen on Friday at 7 p.m.