Like last time when McCallie played Baylor in a TSSAA Division II-AA East/Middle Region basketball game at McCallie, Saturday’s game at Baylor was a tight one at the end. Like last time, and every time, school spirit was at a fever pitch.
And like last time, the Blue Tornado pulled it out at the end, this time 57-53.
McCallie (20-1, 4-1) keeps pace with Ensworth in the loss column in the region standings and remains on track to receive a bye when the classification’s playoffs start.
The victory wasn’t quite as dramatic as last time when Jamal Calvin made a game-winning 3-point shot at the buzzer. The Blue Tornado got to savor the final 2.2 seconds this time, once Terrence O’Donohue capped his game-high 21-point night by making both ends of a one-and-bonus situation for the final margin.
“It doesn’t matter if we play a slow-down game or a fast game,” McCallie coach Dan Wadley said. “Baylor-McCallie is going to always seem to go down to the wire.”
McCallie was limited to 21 field goals, but 10 — led by Jorden Williams’ four in the first half — came from behind the arc. Calvin made three 3-pointers in less than a two-and-a-half minute span in the third quarter.
“They shoot it deep, and they do a great job penetrating,” Baylor coach Austin Clark said. “Calvin shoots it really deep. Our kids must be thinking he can’t make it from out there.”
O’Donohue, a 6-foot-7 post player who Wadley said leads the team in 3-point percentage, made the others.
The Red Raiders led most of the first half, falling behind for the first time late in the second quarter. O’Donohue’s tip at the buzzer left McCallie ahead 35-33 at the half.
Baylor (12-9, 2-4) twice trailed by nine in the third quarter before battling back to take a one-point lead with a little less than five minutes to play. But after Jalen Kellum tipped in a missed free throw to put the Blue Tornado ahead 51-50 with 4:26 remaining, they held a narrow lead the rest of the way.
Neither team reached the bonus in the first half, and neither was called for a foul in the second half until Calvin was whistled for a hand-check at 3:44 of the third quarter. At a timeout with 1:28 to play, Baylor had one team foul in the second half was left scrambling to foul down the stretch.
“I’m proud of how the kids fought,” Clark said. “It was just a tremendous effort. I’m as proud of them for that as any team I’ve had.”
Williams totaled 14 points for McCallie. Calvin had 11.
Reggie Upshaw scored 15 points and Leo Born had 14 for the Red Raiders, who made four 3-point goals.
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.