Nothing about Calhoun’s first half was fundamentally sound. Armuchee poked holes through the Yellow Jackets’ full-court trap, Calhoun couldn’t knock down a jumper and the Indians took a 21-20 lead.
In the second half it was all Calhoun, as the Yellow Jackets rattled off a 23-0 run in the fourth quarter to survive the Indians’ upset bid at Armuchee Wednesday night, 60-32.
“I think for the first two quarters, we got away from what we do,” said Calhoun head coach Vince Layson. “(In the second half) We came out and played our style of defense. We didn’t let them dictate the game. We put the game in our hands, and we did what we do. It showed right there in the second half.”
Armuchee came out with high energy, scoring the first five points of the game and holding a 7-5 lead at the end of the opening quarter.
To open the second, the Indians slowed the pace on offense, calmly passing out of double teams and finding the open man at the basket.
The Indians went on to hold a 15-7 lead before switching from a 3-2 zone to man defense, allowing the Yellow Jackets to display their immense athleticism.
Calhoun ran the floor, showing off behind-the-back passes, huge dunks and blocks sending the ball into the stands.
In that quarter, the Yellow Jackets got their legs back under them and trimmed what was once an eight-point deficit to just one point.
“(Armuchee) handled the pressure well,” said Layson. “We backed off a little bit (in the second half) and thought we’d use that intensity in the half court. We put some pressure on them in the half court, and our defense leads to our offense.”
Despite Armuchee moving the ball well from teammate to teammate, Calhoun’s switch to half court allowed them to sit back and anticipate shots, again using their athletic ability to out hustle and out work the Indians.
Keyth Fightmaster played big inside, and the team used unselfish ball movement to build a five-point lead entering the fourth quarter.
“To label this team as unselfish, is an understatement. I don’t think I’ve ever coached a team that has been this unselfish,” said Layson. “It’s a notch in their belt. It makes it tough for teams to prepare to defend one guy.”
The Yellow Jackets continued moving the ball well to open the fourth, as they took advantage of careless passes and turned what could have been a close contest to a blowout.
Kaelen Riley notched 15 points and eight rebounds to lead Calhoun. Jireh Wilson dropped in 14, while Chandler Curtis and Fightmaster chipped in 11 and 10, respectively, for the Yellow Jackets.
Clay Barnett led Armuchee with 10 points and six rebounds. Jacob Booke scored nine points and grabbed four rebounds for the Indians.
Calhoun moves to 12-1 (6-1) on the season, with their next game coming Friday at home against Coosa.
Armuchee 5-10 (3-5) will travel to Pepperell for a tilt with the Dragons Friday evening.
Kaelen Riley 15, Jireh Wilson 14, Chandler Curtis 11, Keyth Fightmaster 10, Austin Byrd 4, Chapin Rierson 4, Malik Lawrence 2
Clay Barnett 10, Jacob Booke 9, Colton Stamey 5, Blake Williams 4, Dalton Sharpe 2, Brice Poole 2