As the Calhoun Yellow Jackets headed to the locker room at halftime on Wednesday, things didn’t look good as they were coming off a four-point second quarter and staring at a 10-point deficit. But momentum can shift at any time during a four-quarter game.
The Jackets came out in the third quarter and looked like a different team as they quickly turned the double-digit deficit into a three-point lead thanks to a 15-2 run to set the tone for a much-needed 55-46 victory on their home court over Ringgold in a Region 6-AAA crossover matchup.
Calhoun (3-10) saw the ball start dropping through the net out of the half and outscored Ringgold 24-7 in the period thanks to contributions from several different players and a combined four 3-pointers. Davis Allen scored eight of his game-high 13 in the quarter, and Bralin Barton and Tononcito Martha each added six in the third as part of the game-changing sequence.
The Jackets took a 43-36 lead into the fourth and held off a late charge from Ringgold (11-4) to secure the victory. The Tigers got as close as four at 50-46 in the closing minutes, but Calhoun made some big plays down the stretch including multiple stops and buckets from Chase Goble and Martha to go with a free throw from Porter Law to push the final score to nine-point advantage.
Calhoun coach Vince Layson said the way his team responded to start the third quarter after a tough first half was the reason they walked away with a victory.
“Offensively, it couldn’t have gotten much worse than what we did in the second quarter, turning the ball over and missing shots, but we came out in the third and played with energy and really turned the game around,” said Layson. “We saw the ball start to go through the basket, and once something positive like that happens, it’s really contagious. We started playing with a lot more confidence, and it showed. We always preach that the way we come out and play in the first three minutes of the second half dictates the game, and the first three minutes of the third quarter dictated the rest of the game tonight.”
Along with Allen’s team-leading 13 points, which included three 3s, Barton, Goble and Martha all contributed 10 points apiece.
Logan Hullender was the only Ringgold player to reach double figures with 11, and Ammon Murphy and Corey Johnson each added eight.
Both teams came out looking to establish control of the game early, but a back-and-forth first quarter ended with the game tied at 15-15. Ringgold got the upper hand in the second as they put together an 8-0 run midway through the period and outscored Calhoun 14-4 overall in the quarter to earn a 29-19 lead at the break.
The game was the first at home for Calhoun since Dec. 12, and Layson said his guys were excited to be back in a familiar setting, especially after the tough stretch they have been on, going 1-10 in their previous 11 games.
“It definitely helps getting back home,” said Layson. “These guys like having that home crowd and the good atmosphere, and we fed off that energy tonight.”
Layson added that after a trying first month of the season, a win over a good team like Ringgold will hopefully be the spark his team needs to turn things around and get it going in the right direction down the stretch.
“It’s a confidence booster,” said Layson. “It’s not just a win but a win against a quality opponent. I think knowing we can compete and beat an upper-level team in the region shows these guys that we have the ability to still reach our goals. We just have to put four quarters together. We’ve got to finish quarters and finish ballgames. We struggled in the first half tonight with turnovers, and in the second half we were able to take care of the ball. That made a big difference in the game. This win shows the guys that what we have been practicing and preaching is starting to pay off. We’ve just got to keep improving, and we’ll give ourselves a chance to be where we want to be at the end.”
Calhoun is on the road on Friday at Bremen for a subregion contest at 8:30 p.m.