Players make plays. Justin Calahan is a player. A player also usually has a catchy nickname but this was something that previously was missing from the J-H junior guard’s portfolio. He has one now. From now on he should be known as “Clutch.”
Calahan earned the deserved moniker this past Monday night when, with his team trailing Winnfield by one with just 2.4 seconds remaining in the game, he calmly stepped to the line and drained two free throws to give J-H the thrilling victory.
The “clutch” free throws broke the hearts of visiting Winnfield who had overcome a nine point deficit heading into the final frame and taken the lead on a desperation three pointer by Keithan Hamilton with just 4.7 seconds left in the contest.
Credit for the victory also has to be given to J-H head coach Allen Tew. After gathering his team for a final huddle during the time-out that was called immediately following the visitors dagger, Tew designed a brilliant inbounds play.
Knowing Winnfield would apply full court pressure to try and make it difficult for J-H to get off a good shot in such limited time Tew had senior forward Ed “Robbie” Kary positioned at the half court line and then break into the backcourt to receive the inbounds pass. Kary immediately hit Calahan who was streaking up the court from the visitor’s free throw line with a pass at mid-court allowing “Clutch” to drive to the hoop forcing Winnfield to foul in order not to give up an easy lay-up.
Calahan had also been instrumental in the early going that gave J-H a 21-12 lead at the end of one period of play by making nine of the 17 points he finished with. Tydre Malone led the Tigers with a game high 20 points with Kary and Davion McGuire adding five. Ajay Tew had four and both Javious Holden and Cameron Leonard chipped in with two each to round out the Tiger’s scoring.
With the victory Jonesboro-Hodge improved to 3-2 on the season while Winnfield, who got a team leading 19 points from Des Duncan, dropped their first game of the year after opening the season with six straight victories. William Glover added 12 on the strength of four trey’s.
JHHS (3-2) 21 9 16 9 – 55
WHS (6-1) 12 14 11 17 – 54
JHHS scoring: Malone 20, Calahan 17, Kary 5, McGuire 5, Tew 4, Holden 2, Leonard 2
WHS scoring: Duncan 19, Glover 12, Hamilton 8, Roberson 7, Womack 4, Starks 2, Espejel 2
Winnfield 33 J-H 30 (JV): Winnfield overcame a 17-5 halftime deficit by outscoring Jonesboro-Hodge 18-2 in the third quarter to take the three point victory in Junior Varsity action. DeVontae Mozee led J-H with eight points including four of the Tigers seven in the first quarter which ended with Winnfield scoreless.
Savantez Phillips added seven, LaJavion Nichols six and Aiden Price five for J-H while Tommy Walker and Cameron Leonard scored two each. Winnfield was led by Starks with 9, Duncan had 8 and Spears chipped in with 6 as the three scored all their points but two in the second half to fuel the rally. Randal and Mattey added two each.
JHJV 7 10 2 11 – 30
WHJV 0 5 18 10 – 33
JHJV scoring: Mozee 8, Phillips 7, Nichols 6, Price 5, Walker 2, Leonard 2
WHJV scoring: Stark 9, Duncan 8, Spears 6, Randall 2, Mattey 2
Area Recap: In the only other game played over the Christmas holiday break by area teams, Ruston High, under the guidance of former Weston High star and coach Ryan Bond, destroyed visiting Gibsland-Coleman 79-32. The dominating performance continued one of the best starts to a season in Bearcat history, which now stands at 9-1, in Bond’s second year at the helm.
Markel Jones scored a game high 17 points for Ruston followed by 12 from Jackson Pilgreen and Joshua Dean’s eleven. Zhyavion Scott, Xavier Brewster and Jamadrion Lillard added eight each with Johntarious Thomas scoring six. Earnest Chatman chipped in with four while Dyson Fields and Jonesboro native, Rollin Belton had two each helping Ruston equal their entire win total from a season ago.
The Bearcats suffocating defense once again led the way to the victory by grabbing 17 steals and limiting Gibsland-Coleman to single digits in each quarter. The Bulldogs, who was led by 14 points from Terrance James, fell to 3-5 on the year after making just 10 makes on 50 shot attempts and only 2 of 17 from the three point line.
RHS (9-1) 22 21 14 22 – 79
GCHS (3-5) 9 9 5 9 – 32
RHS scoring: Jones 17, Pilgreen 12, Dean 11, Lillard 8, Brewster 8, Scott 8, Thomas 6, Chatman 4, Fields 2, Belton 2
GCHS scoring: James 14, Stevens 8, Woodford 5, Fields 3, Coleman 3