Lady Jackets win nail-biter, Jackets cruise vs. Murray
Calhoun’s girls and boys collect two region wins at home, while Gordon Central also notches another impressive victory on Tuesday.
Fielding a somewhat young and experience team heading into this season, Calhoun head coach Kayla Ralston’s Lady Jackets have struggled at times to generate consistency on both sides of the court. Ralston has remained positive, prompting the squad to show incremental improvement from game to game.
That improvement is starting to show, particularly in Tuesday’s 60-58 victory over the Murray County Lady Indians (8-11, 5-5 in Region 6-AAA).
Calhoun (3-10, 2-8 in Region 6-AAA) was sparked by one of its fastest offensive starts of the season, jumping out to a 12-6 run to open the first quarter due to six early points from Lyndi Rae Davis. The Lady Jackets also benefited from five first-quarter points from Ashlyn Brzozoski and four firstquarter points from Erin Barnes, holding off the Lady Indians despite its accurate three-point shooting and maintaining a 20-17 lead after the end of the initial period. Brzozoski led the Lady Jackets in scoring with 13 points, while Barnes and Davis both finished the night with eight points each.
“Ashlyn (Brzozoski) has been stepping up for us all year,” Ralston said. “She has taken the experience she gained as a freshman and just keeps getting better every game. Her confidence just keeps growing.”
Malysha Winston did the heavy lifting for Calhoun in the second, scoring all six points the team put on the board in the quarter. While the scoring for the Lady Jackets dried up, Murray County only warmed up from the floor and took a 32-26 advantage into the locker rooms. Winston accumulated 12 points on the evening.
“Malysha (Winston) keeps proving that she is a beast and a great athlete,” Ralston said. “When she gets going in the post she is nearly unstoppable. So I am proud of the way she continues to get better.”
The Lady Jackets clamped down defensively and regrouped in the third quarter.
Calhoun was able to re-take the lead and produce an offensive surge thanks to a seven-point period from Brzozoski, and a pair of three-pointers from Emily Sorrow and Railey Greeson, which allowed Calhoun to take a two-point lead into the final eight minutes. Brzozoski finished with 13 points, while Greeson added 10 total.
The final quarter was a wild one, with the lead swapping hands multiple times, and each team piecing together key runs late. It was then that the Lady Jackets were propelled by a pair of timely shots.
With less than a minute left on the clock, and down two points, Greeson leveled the score with a perfect runner in the lane. On the next possession, Barnes banked in a clutch layup to secure the victory.
“Both Railey (Greeson) and Erin (Barnes) work so hard, so I was very excited for them to come through for us there at the end,” Ralston said. “Both of those players, and the rest of our girls, deserve to win, and they went out there tonight and earned it.”
The Lady Indians had a quality look on a three-pointer to win in the final seconds, but it rimmed out.
“These girls got after it, and game to game I think we are finally starting to show improvement,” Ralston said. “I think the break after the Cartersville hurt us a little, but I think we are getting back in the swing of things. Hats off to Murray County because they are a scrappy team, but we fought hard and to the end.”
Murray County boys 55,
Calhoun boys 67
The Calhoun Yellow Jackets utilized a dynamic performance on both ends of the court to coast past a feisty Murray County unit 67-55 on Tuesday at The Hive.
Calhoun( 8- 7, 6- 4 in Region 6-AAA) was propelled primarily by the sharpshooting of Gage Maffetone, who battled what appeared to be an early ankle injury to rack up 15 points, knocking down a trio of three-pointers. Other top contributors for the Jackets included Jake Prather, who dominated down low while notching 12 points, Caleb Boone, who provided a spark off the bench with nine points, Xaxton Goodson, who netted eight points and Bralin Barton, who chipped in seven points.
“Gage (Maffetone) has been super solid for us all us this year, leading the team not only tonight, but all season,” Calhoun head coach Vince Layson said. “I talked to him before the game, and I said ‘Look, we’ll be leaning on you night-in and night-out, and he was again tonight. And when you have a guy like Jake (Prather) who is able to score and control the glass, it makes for a pretty good combination.”
This one had all the makings of a back-and-forth contest early, with the Jackets controlling the tempo on the break and the Indians (9-10, 4-6 in Region 6-AAA) rallying back with the three-ball. Despite jumping out to an early lead, Calhoun only maintained a 16-11 advantage after one quarter of play.
However, the Jackets took advantage of its defensive pressure in the second quarter, going on a swift 7-0 run to snag a 30-22 lead that blossomed into a 35-22 lead at the break.
By the end of the third quarter, the Jackets’ lead had grown to its largest at that point, as the margin grew to 52-38. Calhoun’s lead grew to 14 midway through the fourth quarter, as all that was left to do was to drain the clock and endure Murray County’s final rally.
“I think we just got back to hustle plays tonight, and there are a lot of 50/50 balls that we haven’t been getting after this year,” Layson said. “We got a couple buckets in transition, and we kind of played to our strength. I think our whole bench came in and contributed. A win is a win, and those haven’t been easy to come by this year. The region is wide open, especially that second seed, and that’s what we have set our goal on right now.”
Both Calhoun squads will square off against crosstown rival Sonoraville on Friday, with the girls tipping off at 6 p.m. and the boys taking the court at 7:30 p.m.
Dade County boys 62, Gordon Central boys 77
The Gordon Central boys continued its recent streak of success on Tuesday, defeating the Dade County Wolverines 77-62 and collecting another region win in the process.
The Warriors (3-14, 1-5 in Region 7-AA) were scorching from the field out of the gate, cobbling together 21 points while holding the Wolverines to 12. Gordon Central’s defense continued to be stifling into the second quarter, as the Warriors held Dade County to just nine points in the quarter.
Gordon Central was actually outpaced in the scoring column in the third quarter, permitting 23 points, while only scoring 20. However, the Warriors out fort a 23-point quarter of its own in the final period to lock in the win.
Leading the way for the Warriors was Dawson Lackey, who finished with 18 points. Also putting together stellar performances was Christian Marycz, who chipped in 14 points, Kade Steward, who added 13 points, Gabe Ross, who pitched in 12 points and Dalton Freeman, who compiled eight points.
Calhoun’s Railey Greeson shoots a floater over a Murray County defender. Greeson was instrumental in the team’s home region win over the Lady Indians on Tuesday.
Jackets point guard Gage Maffetone prepares to launch a shot against Murray County. Maffetone led the team in scoring in the home region win.