EDISON — Last season, Calhoun County’s boys basketball team won 18 games but narrowly missed the state basketball playoffs. The Cougars are hungry for a trip this season.
So far, Calhoun is 6-0 and has already beaten Region 1-A opponents Miller County, Mitchell County and Baker County. With the exception of their first two games against Eufaula (Ala.) and Spencer, Calhoun hasn’t been challenged. Coach Marcus Shaw has been happy with the team’s progress.
“Those guys have been playing pretty good, but there is a lot of room for improvement,” Shaw said. “We are blessed to have the record we have right now.”
The Cougars, who are close to breaking into The Herald’s Fab 5 Poll, returned five starters from last season. The good news for Calhoun fans is that none of them are seniors. That’s bad news for the rest of Region 1-A.
Guard Quenton Taylor and forward DaJohn Williams, both juniors, have led the way offensively so far. The Cougars have also gotten solid production from sophomore guard Jamario Jackson and juniors Sherrod Williams and Deante Scott.
One of the top surprises has been the play of new addition Devorris Haynes, a 6-foot-8 center who has given the Cougars some size and strength inside. Haynes finished with 11 points in Tuesday night’s 63-46 non-region win over Early County.
Shaw has been proud of all his players’ achievements this season and has been reluctant to single anybody out.
“It’s pretty much been a team effort every game,” he said. “We’ve had balanced scoring and a complete team effort.”
The Cougars are back in action on Saturday at Miller County and on Tuesday at Early County, two teams they have already beaten this season.
“Last year, we had just about all ninth and 10th-graders,” Shaw said. “Them being a year older has helped. But we’ve still got a lot of improving to do.”
BIG WEEKEND FOR THE GIRLS: It’s still early in the Region 1-AAAA schedule, but the girls action continues to heat up. Tonight, Herald No. 3 Westover entertains No. 1 Monroe, No. 4 Dougherty plays host to Worth County and Cairo visits Albany High.
Undefeated Monroe can take a firm grasp of first-place in the region with a victory over Westover, followed by a win over Americus-Sumter on Tuesday.
However, with just one loss each, Dougherty and Westover loom closely behind. Dougherty’s only loss was in its season opener to Monroe, while Westover is coming off an overtime loss at Crisp County on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Crisp County and Americus-Sumter have just two region losses apiece.
STREAKING: Several area schools are on hot streaks after opening the season with losses. On the boys side, Worth County opened its season with a 66-58 loss to Houston County on Nov. 19. However, the Rams have won six straight since, including four region victories to sit atop the Region 1-AAAA standings.
Seminole County, with its impressive 55-35 victory over Randolph-Clay on Tuesday night, has opened its season with three straight wins.
On the girls side, Dougherty has won five in a row, including region wins over Cairo, Crisp County and Americus-Sumter.
The Randolph-Clay girls have opened with four straight wins. Meanwhile, Mitchell County and Miller County have won three straight.