After a bit of a lethargic start for Calhoun in the opening round of the Region 6-AAA Tournament, the Jackets were quickly able to shake the cobwebs and easily coast past the Coahulla Creek Colts 70-45 to advance to the second round and to the verge of a state tournament berth.
Offensively, the Jackets (10-13) stuck to the familiar script of getting the ball in the hands of centerpiece Davis Allen, who finished with 13 points and was firmly in control of the glass on both ends of the court.
“Davis is just a competitor, and he’s a big man with such great touch,” Calhoun head coach Vince Layson said. “He’s been our rock offensively night in and night out. Whether it is easy or hard, we are glad he is able to contribute.”
Calhoun was aided additionally by a stellar performance from primary facilitator and vocal leader Porter Law, who found his stroke for 11 points.
“When you have Porter running the show for you, you know that you are in good hands,” Layson said. “Normally, he is passive and he is all about getting assists and setting up his teammates. In the first, things weren’t going well and he was getting some stops and passing the ball. So I told him to start rewarding himself, and that is where the points came from.”
Chase Goble, who netted 10 points and was also very active on the boards, and Xaxton Goodson, who also compiled 10 points and was praised after the game by Layson for his exceptional defensive work, were also impact contributors for Calhoun.
“I can’t say enough about Xaxton’s defense tonight. In transition, he also got some buckets, and that is where he excels. He had a really good night.”
Even though Calhoun tied its fourth-highest point total of the season, both teams struggled to knock down baskets in the early going. Neither team scored in the first two minutes of the contest, and the Jackets actually fell behind 11-10 at the end of the first quarter.
“We knew they were going to sit in a zone and try to slow things down a little bit, so we had to get the tempo going in our favor with our defense,” said Layson.
It didn’t take Calhoun long after that to flex its offensive prowess, however, as the team went on a scorching 13-0 run to create significant separation on the scoreboard to open the second quarter. In addition to the standout stat lines from the team’s starters, the Jackets were also elevated during that run by the play of Caleb Boone, who scored a quick seven points off the bench in the period.
“Caleb came in and hit back-to-back 3’s there at the end,” Layson said. “He hasn’t been getting a lot of playing time lately, but he definitely made the most of it tonight.”
That explosive stretch gifted Calhoun a comfortable 34-21 lead at the break, and it put the team in an ideal position for the rest of the game by allowing it to rely on its defense to stifle any type of Coahulla Creek (8-16) rally.
That approach expanded the Jackets’ lead out to 55-37 after three quarters, and also provided Layson the opportunity to rest his starters and get all of the reserves in the game in the final period.
“At this point in the season, it’s survive and advance,” Layson said. “That is what we did tonight.”
Calhoun’s win put them in the second round on Wednesday against North Murray with the winner clinching a state tournament berth and advancing to the region semifinals on Friday against Sonoraville.