(01/14/2012)
By Gaylen Duskey
realfang@citlink.net

It was there all night long. The chance to snap a 33-game losing streak to end a six-year losing streak to Gilmer was there. In what may have been the Calhoun Red Devils' top chance at getting a win the chances were there but it just didn't happen.

Instead Gilmer County did what it had to do when it had to do it and left the Red Devils once again on the short side of the score - 53-37 - in a game played Friday night at Mount Zion.

The Red Devils, 0-12, started out on the right foot and took it to the Titans early and were on top 14-8 early in the second quarter.

But then one of those inexplicable lapses hit the Red Devils as Gilmer County went on a 16-0 run to take a lead it never relinquished.

Anthony Aviles was the key to the Titans' run as he scored 13 of the 16 points, thanks mostly to five steals from the Calhoun offense.

But the Red Devils mounted a comeback and closed to within four -24-18 - at halftime.

Calhoun came out smoking in the second half and pared the margin to a basket on a couple of occasions only to have Gilmer, 3-8, right itself to even things up maintaining that six-point lead - 33-27 - heading into the final period.

Once again the Red Devils pared into the lead and was behind only by four when Mason Sheldon scored early in the period. The problem was that Sheldon, who was on the bench much of the game after picking up three first half fouls, fouled out. Without the forceful sophomore inside the Titans managed to push the lead back out to seven then Gilmer Coach Steve Shuff basically had his team let the air out of the ball.

With the methodic Titans slowing things down Calhoun was forced to be more aggressive on defense, which led to a Gilmer encampment at the free throw line led by leading scorer Austin Cunningham.

In the fourth period Cunningham, who had a game high 18, hit on eight of nine free throws which allowed the Titans to slowly pull away for the final margin.

Cunningham was backed by Aviles with 15 points.

They were the only two Titans in double figures as Austin Ratliff added nine, Devon Dennis and Mitchell Hickman four each and Tinker Wright three. Nick Roberts played but did not score.

Calhoun, which did not have a scorer hit double figures, was led by Caleb Schoolcraft with nine.

He was backed by Ryan Slider with eight, Sheldon with seven, Ricky Hall with six, freshman Tyler Gerwig with five and Luke Moore with two to go along with his four assists. Trent Phillips and Lucas Wilson both played but did not score.

Calhoun's ball handling was much better than its last game with only 18 turnovers but that number was skewed slightly by the defensive work of Aviles, who had a game high six steals as the Titans came away with nine total steals.

The Red Devils controlled the boards against the smaller Titans with a 36-24 edge as Slider came away with eight, Gerwig seven. Sheldon had five rebounds despite being on the bench with foul trouble for most of the game.

Calhoun returns to action Wednesday night with a home game against South Harrison while Gilmer County entertains Clay County.

There was no junior varsity game.


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