|By Gaylen Duskey |
All season long Coach Mike Sims has been saying his Calhoun Middle School team would put it together and play like it could.
However, up until Tuesday night the Red Devils had not really put things together as they played almost good enough to win, but not quite, stumbling along with a 2-5 record.
Tuesday night the stumbling came to an end as CMS played its best game of the year in handing Wirt its first defeat by a 29-19 count. Wirt had beaten Calhoun earlier in the season by a 41-21 score.
Whether it was the addition of Kirkland Allen, playing his first game after sitting out the early part of the season recuperating from a football injury, whether it was the inspired play of the defense or whether it was just Sims' challenge to the team when he told them "you're going to have to play the game" something made it click.
After spotting Wirt a small halftime lead the Red Devils turned it on in the second half by outscoring the Tigers 17-6. Calhoun was especially impressive in the final period as it tallied nine while holding Wirt scoreless.
Tyler Gerwig led the way for Calhoun with a dominating 16 points and 15 rebounds.
He was backed by Tyler Sims with seven, Lucas Wilson with five and Allen with two. Tyler Tanner, William Baker and Luke Sheldon all played solid minutes but did not score. Calhoun played the game without starter Sam Brady, who was out with sore ribs.
But points were only part of the story for the Red Devils, who won for the third time in eight games.
Defense was probably more important in the overall scheme of things as Calhoun shutdown Wirt's inside game and save for three three-point goals pretty well shut down Wirt's outside game too.
Allen joined the always hustling Wilson in harassing the Tigers. Overall, Calhoun had 11 steals with Allen leading the way with five. Calhoun also owned a sizable edge on the boards by out rebounding the taller Tigers 34-14.
Calhoun was not quite as fortunate in the B game but did give the Tigers a scare before losing by a 22-18 score as a strong
fourth-quarter rally came up just short. The loss kept Calhoun winless after the first eight games.
Ethyn Miller led Calhoun with nine while Nick Watkins added three and Nick Murphy, Jerry Jones and Austin Gribble had two apiece.
Christopher Kirkland, Chris Thornton, Riley Cain, Justyn Starcher, Dustin Turner, Robby Lamp and Kyle Farrell all played but did not score.
Lamp and Gribble led Calhoun with nine rebounds each while Miller had eight.
For Wirt Jason Ellison had 23 rebounds and eight points to lead the way.
Calhoun returns to action Thursday night when it plays host to Spencer.