Calvin hits winning shot for McCallie

Calvin hits winning shot for McCallie

January 29th, 2012 by Gene Henley in Sportspreps

McCallie's Cordell James, 40, keeps the ball from Baylor's Reggie Upshaw Saturday at McCallie School. Photo by Jenna Walker

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With 12 seconds remaining and his Division II top-ranked McCallie squad down by two points to Baylor, coach Dan Wadley called time out and set up a play.

It didn't matter that once the Blue Tornado returned to the court, the play wasn't run to perfection, or that the ball wasn't necessarily supposed to end up in Jamaal Calvin's hands with under two seconds remaining.

What mattered was the result.

Calvin splashed a 3-pointer at the buzzer, giving McCallie what would be its only lead in a thrilling 43-42 home Division II East-Middle Region victory Saturday evening. The junior finished with a team-high 16 points, all in the second half.

"It's a play we call 'V,'" Wadley said. "We didn't run it well; I wanted the ball back in C.J.[Reese]'s hands. But I also told the guys to take the first good look and that was the first good look in 12 seconds."

Calvin said there was no doubt he made the shot once it left his hands.

"I knew I had been off all night, but my teammates trusted me," he said. "That shot has to be at the top of shots I've ever hit: It was a game-winner, and in a rivalry game against Baylor."

Baylor coach Austin Clark couldn't have asked for more out of his Red Raiders throughout the game, and especially on that final shot.

"From my view, we had three people on him," Clark said. "He made the shot. It was rushed, but he made it. We defended it well -- he wasn't open. What else can you do? He looked covered to me.

"I thought we did a great job of playing defense tonight. We played with the No. 1 steam in the state on their home floor, and if he misses that shot, we're happy. He made it, so they're happy."

Except for four ties, the Red Raiders led throughout until the end. They led by as many as seven in the final period, after a Reggie Upshaw 3-pointer made it 40-33.

Wadley promptly switched to a four-guard lineup in hopes of speeding up the methodical Baylor attack, and the Blue Tornado (17-1, 2-1) responded with seven consecutive points to tie the score with 2:31 remaining.

With 1:07 remaining, Leo Born found his brother Clay cutting wide-open underneath the basket, and his layup gave Baylor a two-point edge. Baylor had a chance to stretch that lead, but Reese chased down Jeff Bowens and blocked a layup attempt.

McCallie got the ball back, but an entry pass to Terrance O'Donohue in the post was a little wide and the 6-foot-7 junior dribbled the ball out of bounds trying to corral it. The Blue Tornado promptly fouled Bowens, and he missed the front end of a one-and-one, leading to Calvin's heroics.

"We had some chances down the stretch. We missed some shots, but we gave ourselves a chance and that's all I was looking for," Clark said. "We had some guys step up and be warriors tonight in a tough situation."

Upshaw led Baylor (11-8, 1-3) with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Leo Born finished with 11 points and six rebounds. Reese finished with eight points and six assists for McCallie, while Cordell James added seven rebounds.

"Austin had a heck of a game plan tonight. They slowed us down," Wadley said. "He wanted a game in the 40s and got it. I'll give him all the credit in the world; his kids played hard.

"We made some plays we needed to in the end, but we're fortunate tonight to get the win."