COLBERT – The Calera Bulldogs’ basketball season came to an end – technically – on Friday.
The Bulldogs bowed out of the Class 2A district semifinals in wild games which saw technical fouls levied against coaches Justin Pierce and LaChelle Brown. The latter was ejected with seven seconds remaining in a frustrating 60-50 loss to Haworth.
Unkind and perceptively unbalanced whistles didn’t help the Lady Bulldogs as they tried to claw back from Haworth’s accurate and efficient first-half shooting. After falling behind by double digits, Calera went on an 8-0 outburst fueled by their defensive full-court press.
Calera was within three before another Lady Lions run in the third. Pickett tried to kelp, scoring eight of her 10 points to keep the LadyDawgs as close as 45-39 going into the fourth.
Haworth’s lead was held to seven for a long stretch of the fourth as the teams traded turnovers and tie-ups. But the LadyDawgs could not overcome a 31-point night for Morgan Boyd of the Lions, and frustrations finally boiled over.
Ashlyn Cooper scored 19 for Calera, followed by Pickett’s 10, 8 for Raylee Rogers, five for Madi Robinson, four from Micaela Curtman and two apiece from Lynsie Patton and Kaylee Ervin.
In the nightcap, extreme hustle helped Colbert overcome a 25-point evening from Calera’s Johnathon Diamond in a 59-54 district semifinal win for the Leopards.
James hair led Colbert with 15 points, but the X factor was Jared Nunley off the bench for 13 and several critical rebounds. Caleb Shoemake scored 12 and Preston Rice added 10 very hard-earned points, mostly in the paint.
Colbert rattled off seven straight and led 16-9 after one quarter. Three trifectas later, the Bulldogs were back in it. That’s when Tanner Davis placed a perfect lob to Braxton Barton off the glass, who hit the “and one” to tie the game at 20.
But the Leopards controlled the boards at end the first half with a 12-2 run, capped by Nunley’s shot at the halftime buzzer to give Colbert a 32-22 lead.
Colbert controlled a testy third quarter 16-8 which saw a flagrant and technical foul lowered upon the Bulldogs. But Calera wasn’t about to let a 48-30 deficit dampen their effort.
Calera went on a 24-11 fourth quarter spree, as Diamond, Preston Barkley and Tanner Davis all nailed threes to get the Dawgs back into the game. They got as close as three points in the final seconds before Nunley was able to close the game out on 2-of-4 late free throw shooting.