Calhoun County's Marquez Williams
EDISON — Ninety seconds, count ‘em … 90 seconds — 90 flash-flood, burn-the-house down seconds.
That’s how long it took for Calhoun County to grab control of Friday night’s game against Terrell County. It was that fast, that furious, and for the Cougars — that important.
“Coach told us to come out and jump on them from the start,’’ said Marquez Williams, who led the way with 25 points for the Cougars, who ripped Terrell County, 80-67, in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Calhoun on Friday night.
There was a lot to stand up for.
The Cougars hit the court in a blaze and burned down the nets all night in their biggest win of the season — a victory that gives Calhoun sole position of first place in Region 1B-A, where the Cougars are sitting at 5-0, and Terrell County is 4-1 after Friday’s loss.
The Cougars raced out to a 10-2 lead in the first 90 seconds and made their first five shots of the night, including two 3s from Williams, to take a 13-6 lead. And that was just the start — literally — for Calhoun, which hit 4-of-5 treys and went 11-of-16 from the field to take a 30-14 lead into the second quarter.
“They came out and made a lot of shots. They were hyped,’’ Terrell County coach John Davis said.
Terrell County has won the region title for five years in a row and made trips to the Final Four the last two, including last year’s Class A state title game.
“They’re playing the Class A state runner-up and they came out hyped with a lot of energy and a lot of effort. They always play well in this gym,” Davis said.
The Cougars were hitting shots from the parking lot and taking away everything from Terrell County, which turned the ball over 10 times in the first eight minutes of the game and finished the night with 23 turnovers. In contrast, there are many nights when Terrell County doesn’t turn the ball over 10 times.
But not Friday. This one belonged to the Cougars (12-5), who played the first four minutes without their biggest weapon, Vincent Powell, who sat out for disciplinary reasons. The Cougars didn’t need him early, but it’s hard to live without him. Powell is meteor-quick and fearless. He loves to drive into the heart of a team’s defense, and then make them pay.
He did it all night, and finished with 22 points, including a couple of monster dunks that sent the crowd soaring from its feet.
“Oh, he does all right,’’ deadpanned Calhoun County coach Marcus Shaw, who was delighted with his team’s fast start. “They seemed to be determined.’’
It showed, especially when Terrell County stormed back. The Greenwave regrouped and ripped off a 10-0 run in the second quarter to close to 34-26, thanks to five turnovers and Dekoven Ware, who grabbed three rebounds and dropped in six points during the run. Ware, a Herald Super 6er, finished with 25 points, 13 rebounds and a blocked shot — but it wasn’t enough.
Calhoun held on to a nine-point lead until Quenton Taylor, who finished with 12 points, made a steal and a drive to end the half at 47-36. Ware opened the second half on a mission, and scored five quick points on a drive and an and-one play, and suddenly it was a six-point game at 47-41. But when Ware picked up his third foul and went to the bench, Calhoun went to work, and Raishun Anderson, who finished with 11 points, hit two long bombs to ignite a 10-3 Cougars run, and just like that it was 57-44.
“I knew they had a run in them,’’ Shaw said. “Ware is a good player and he came out in the third quarter and played hard. We had to get our intensity back, and we did. We were able to maintain the lead.’’
And build it. The Cougars built the lead to 75-55 in the fourth when Powell slammed in a fast-break dunk and followed that play with a long 3 with 6:02 left in the game.
“Our inexperience showed (Friday night),’’ said Davis, who has four new young starters this season. “But they played a good game.’’
The rivalry was already good, and this game added some spice to it.
“It feels good to beat them,’’ Powell said. “We went hard from start to finish. This is a big win. We just want to play and be No. 1.’’
“We’ve been playing two and three quarters a game this year. I felt like we played a complete ball game,’’ Shaw said. “This was a big game, and they worked hard all week in practice, but the job is not finished. Our goal is to win the region title.’’
After Friday, Calhoun is the top team in the sub-region, but the Cougars might have won more than just what’s listed in the standings.
“This is a real confidence booster for us,’’ Williams said. “They beat us by four last year and we blew them out (Friday), so it shows how much we have improved.’’
CALHOUN COUNTY GIRLS 51, TERRELL COUNTY 37: There may not be an answer for Brandi Buie, who has been a terror all season. And on a night when Calhoun County’s second leading scorer, Kelsey Anderson, was out with a knee injury, Buie picked up the slack and led the Lady Cougars again.
Buie, just a sophomore, outscored Terrell County 12-11 in the fourth quarter to put this one away as Calhoun took a close game and eased to a 14-point win
“That’s what she does,‘’ said Calhoun County coach Cornellius Walker, whose team is 12-5 and 4-1 in Region 1B-A play. “Big-time players step up in big-time situations.
Buie finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds and ran the offense all night. Keyanna Wells added 14 for the Lady Cougars.
Terrell County was led by Nydra Wright, who scored 15 points, while Jasmine Soilberry added nine and LaChanta Hollis scored seven.
“Terrell County played a heck of a game,’’ Walker said. “They have improved a lot. I expected them to play us tough.’’
And as always, he also expected Buie to come up big.