Chilton County boys win thriller over Calera

Published 6:30 pm Thursday, February 6, 2014

Calera's James Gayden reaches in for a steal against Chilton County on Feb. 4. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

Calera’s James Gayden reaches in for a steal against Chilton County on Feb. 4. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

By Trey Hickman | For the Shelby County Reporter

The Feb. 4 varsity boys basketball showdown between Calera and visiting Chilton County featured a fourth quarter that elevated above the call of duty.

It was an epic back-and-forth final period of fiery, never-say-die competitiveness, with Chilton County ultimately savoring the sweetness of a 66-62 victory and Calera swallowing the bitter pill of defeat.

With Calera clinging to a 49-47 lead as the fourth quarter began, the teams virtually traded baskets until Chilton County’s Jacob Hatch hit a 3-pointer that knotted the score at 58-all.

During the ensuing possession, Chilton County’s Braylen Parker authoritatively blocked a Jordan Bishop shot. The swat sailed to around half-court, where Parker’s teammate Davre Williams grabbed the ball and drove in for a layup that put the Tigers on top by two.

After a Bishop free throw closed the gap to 60-59, Williams scored again to put Chilton County up by three, in the process drawing a foul from the Eagles’ Tyler Harrell. It was Harrell’s fifth of the game and the senior fouled out with 40.6 seconds remaining.

Following the missed free throw by Williams, Calera’s Ronnie Clark drained a 3-pointer to tie the contest at 62-all and compelled Chilton County head coach Cain Young to take a timeout. On the Tigers’ possession, Parker gathered a pass down low, banked in a bucket and drew a foul. His subsequent free throw extended Chilton County’s lead to 65-62 with 2.8 seconds remaining.

With 1.3 seconds left, Williams sank a free throw of his own to cement the win.

“We got down there (and) he hit the (3-pointer to tie the game) and nobody pouted,” said Young. “(My players) said let’s go, let’s find a way to win it. Nobody was hanging their heads in the timeout. They all came out and (said) let’s find a way to score and win the game right here.”

And get the win they did, prompting praise from the opposition.

“Chilton County is coached by a very good coach,” Calera head coach George Drake said. “He coaches his guys just to continue to play, (to) play hard. They did the things they needed to do on the road to win. We knew that they were a good team. They beat us at their place. We didn’t take (them) lightly.

“They were the better team tonight and they did some things and made some shots and they came out on top.”

For Calera, Ronnie Clark recorded a team-high 18 points to pair with six rebounds. Jordan Bishop tallied 13 points and six rebounds while Tyler Harrell had six points and 11 rebounds.

Keddrick Thomas added eight points in the losing cause.

Williams led Chilton County with a game-high 21 points as Hatch had 13. Parker provided 12 points while Raquaez Cora collected 10 in the winning effort.

Calera girls race past CCHS

Calera’s Kalen Starks shined brightly on “Senior Night” as the host Eagles handily dispatched Chilton County 60-31 in varsity girls basketball Feb. 4.

During an evening honoring her class, Starks went on a tear in the opening quarter, scoring 16 points—including the game’s first seven—as Calera built a robust 23-1 lead.

She finished with a game-high 19 points while grabbing seven rebounds, snagging three steals and recording a blocked shot.

“She here the last I’d say five or six or seven games has really started to come alive,” said Calera head coach James Knowles. “She’s well from her (injured) ankle now and she understands what we’re trying to do. She’s a great girl (and) she’s very smart. She made a 25 on her ACT so she’s a thinker, too.”

Behind Keona Dejarnett’s four points, the Tigers raised their play in the second period, though the half ended with Calera on top by 22 thanks in part to five points from Tyesha Haynes.

Starks tallied her remaining three points in the third quarter as the Eagles stretched their lead to 29. The Tigers’ Gabriel Kelley collected five of her team-high 10 points in the fourth quarter to help Chilton County play the Eagles to a tie in that final period, though Calera ultimately took the one-sided win.

“Positives (are my) girls kept fighting and they played hard the entire time,” Chilton County head coach Cain Young said. “We talked (at) halftime (about) trying to do some things on offense and they scored a lot more points than they had last time against (this) team.”

Calera’s Haynes complemented Starks’ performance with 13 points and four rebounds. Breonna Caldwell followed with nine points while Keyanna Gayden recorded five points and five rebounds.

A’kia Harris had five points of her own in the Eagles’ win.

For Chilton County, Kelley collected 10 points as Dejarnett scored nine and Kaley Lucas had five.