Calhoun varsity boys capture Class 1A Area 5 runners-up

Published 12:28 pm Thursday, February 16, 2023

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The Calhoun School varsity boys took home Class 1A Area 5 Championship runners-up after a 60-47 loss to Autaugaville School Thursday.

The Tigers faced the Eagles at Autaugaville after defeating local rival Central High in Hayneville, gaining the opportunity to compete in the Area 5 Championship with a 60-48 win over the Lions Feb. 7.

Calhoun coach Ervin Starr said the game started slow, but the Eagles picked up momentum in the second half.

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“We started out kind of slow,” Starr said. “We played [Autaugaville] two previous times. The first time we lost by two points at their place, and we felt good about that game. The second time they were much more physically stronger than we were, and we just weren’t able to keep up. It was like that [Thursday]. We kept pace with them. They never were able to take a drastic lead, but we weren’t able to be as physical as they were.”

Autaugaville varsity boys coach Darren Golden said Calhoun led during the first minutes of the game, but by the end of the first period, Autaugaville held a 15-9 lead over Calhoun.

As Autaugaville pulled away, the Eagles switched out subs, a move that failed to strengthen their lead before halftime.

“We pulled away and switched out subs,” Golden said. “That didn’t work out too well, so we brought them back at halftime.”

Both teams continued to score, ending the third quarter at 49-39 before the Eagles widened their lead in the last period.

Autaugaville earn the Area Championship during the game and Golden said the Tigers were tough to beat three times in a row.

“They’re a good team,” Golden said. “We played them two times before and they were tough to beat three times in a row. We didn’t change anything about what we did, we just played like we always do.”

Jaden Nixon led the Eagles, scoring 36 of the team’s 60 points.

“My main player, Jaden Nixon, scored 36 points,” Golden said. “Jaden is the core of our time. He’s a point guard and played a great defense.  He’s a flasher, he’s a shooter, he’s just a very good player.”

Starr said Tyler Robertson and Traevon Scott lead the team throughout the game.

“Tyler led us with 20 points and 10 rebounds,” Starr said. “Trae gained nine points. They were our lead scorers in the game and throughout the season. Tyler averaged 16 points a game and Trae averaged about 12.”

As the Tigers prepare for the state playoffs, Starr said the team will focus on handling the ball.

“Taking care of the ball is the most important part,” Starr said. “We can’t expect to win a game when you have 15 plus turnovers. So, we just have to take better care of the ball. We’ll be working on that up until we play Tuesday.”

Calhoun faced Loachapoka School in the Sub-Regional playoffs Tuesday night succumbing to the Indians 62-61. Autaugaville met Notasulga High School, defeating the Blue Devils 74-61 and advancing to the Central Regional Semi-Final game on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.