(01/05/2012)
By Gaylen Duskey
realfang@citlink.net

Back in December 2011 Calhoun played host to Wirt County and came away on the bad end of a 75-38 thumping.

Turn the clock forward a few weeks to Wednesday night to see how much Calhoun has improved since the early season shellacking. It took three points from Kalob Bell in the last :27.4 to allow the Tigers to escape with a 50-47 victory that's how much.

Calhoun played its best defense of the year in the second half holding the Tigers to 11 points. The team played its best offense of the year cracking the 40-point barrier for the first time while nearly getting off the schneid for the season and ending a long losing streak.

Wirt had opened up a 13-point halftime lead, 39-26, and when the buzzer sounded appeared en route to pulling away in the second half.

Instead it was the Red Devils who found the second half resolve and put the clamps on the Tigers.

In the third quarter Calhoun's defense stifled Wirt holding it to a mere three points while scoring 14 to get back into the game 42-40 heading into the final period.

And Calhoun managed to tie things up two or three times in the fourth period but were never quite able to get over the hump and take the lead, instead leaving it tied at 47-47 late in the fourth period.

That's when the Tigers decided to let the air out of the ball on offense and work for a good shot. The good shot never really came but Bell was Johnny-on-the-spot when an errant Tiger ball caromed off the rim and he grabbed the long rebound and tossed in a 10-foot jumped with :27.4 remaining.

Calhoun attempted to tie the game up on the ensuing possession but turned the ball over with mere seconds on the clock. Bell, who at times seemed like he was everywhere, took off with the loose ball and was fouled with :5.4 remaining. He made the first but missed the second giving Calhoun one last shot but the desperation attempt was off target allowing Wirt to sneak away with its third victory in nine game while dropping Calhoun to 0-9.

Bell had a game-high 16 points for the Tigers but 13 of those came in the first half before the Red Devils altered their defense to deny him the open shot.

He was the only Tiger to hit double figures. He was backed by J.T. Nemeth with nine, Josh Trembley with eight, Trent Hardbarger with five, Matt Roberts and Josh Quinn with four each and Jeremy Kerby and Austin McVey with two each.

Calhoun was led by Ryan Slider and Caleb Schoolcraft with 14 each.

Schoolcraft was hot from outside with four three-point shots while Slider was all over with one trey and a team-high 11 rebounds to go along with three assists.

Trent Phillips and Ricky Hall added six each while Luke Moore had three and Tyler Gerwig and Mason Sheldon two each. Sheldon also had nine rebounds.

The junior varsity game was a different story as it started poorly for Calhoun and got worse at it went along with Wirt tolling to a 58-8 victory.

Sam Brady led Calhoun, 0-7, with four points while Tyler Gerwig and Tyler Tanner had two apiece. William Baker, Lucas Wilson, Luke Sheldon, Kameron Carder, Nick Watkins, Dustin Turner, Derek Dawson and Zach Thomas all played but did not score.

Calhoun's effort was hamstrung by 36 turnovers and seven Wirt County steals.

Dustin Garner had a game high 21 points for Wirt while Hunter McCoy (9) and Hardbarger (8) also both outscored the Red Devils.

Shane Hinzman, D.J. Thorn and Austin Young had four each. Trembley, McVey and Mark Cunningham all added two for the Tigers.

Calhoun will go after its first win of the season Friday night when it goes on the road to Roane County. Wirt County is scheduled to play at Parkersburg Catholic the same night.


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