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Calhoun wraps up 30-4A title

By BY WILL BROWN - WBROWN@VICAD.COM
Feb. 8, 2013 at 11:04 p.m.
Updated Feb. 7, 2013 at 8:08 p.m.

Calhoun senior Isaac Cardona tries to get a shot against Calallen's Dillon Vaughan during the last seconds of the fourth quarter of Friday night's game in Port Lavaca. The Sandcrabs defeated the Wildcats 64-58 in overtime.

PORT LAVACA - There are two banners in the gym here recognizing previous Calhoun successes.

Someone will be tasked with adding a third after the Sandcrabs scratched past Calallen 64-58 in overtime Friday night.

The win clinched a second straight District 30-4A championship for the Sandcrabs. Calallen (21-11, 8-4) will now wait to see if they get second place in district.

Seniors Isaac Cardona and Walter Carr typically start for Calhoun. Friday, as the program celebrated Senior Night, they were accompanied by classmates McCullen Stafford, Gio Galloway and Jake Meyer.

Cardona made sure the people in Port Lavaca will not soon forget him with 29 points, 15 rebounds, four steals and a block.

"We knew it was going to be a tough game," said Calallen basketball coach Randy Lowrance. "They are a great basketball team. Isaac Cardona is a special player. He makes everyone else on that team even better. We came in here tonight knowing we had to win to have a shot at the district championship. Our goal was to do everything we could to win the game. The bottom line is we couldn't stop Isaac tonight. He really took it to us."

Cardona had 19 points entering the fourth quarter. When he went below the 3-point line in the fourth quarter, there were two Wildcat defenders tracking him. That still didn't stop No. 32 from getting his.

Cardona scored the first five points of overtime. He, as well as Jason Alonzo and Carr, added a free throw to help the Sandcrabs outscore the visitors 8-1 in the extra period.

"It just feels amazing," said Carr, whose defensive rebound with 14 seconds remaining sealed the game. "I wouldn't ask to be on any other team to get it."

Galloway, one of the many new faces on the 2012-13 team, said this group has come together since the beginning of the season to prove to themselves and others they could be a good team.

Calhoun (22-9, 10-1) returned four players - Cardona, Stafford and juniors Ryan Jackson and Alonzo - from the 2012 team that went 28-5, but lost in the bi-district round of the playoffs. Cory Williams would have been a fifth, but he tore up his knee playing football. Galloway said Williams would have brought defense and rebounding to the team, but others filled that void.

"We thought we fell apart and we brought up some guys who didn't have any experience," Galloway said. "We brought ourselves together, worked on our weak spots and got ourselves going."

Senior Taquan Miles' impact was felt in the second half when Calhoun ramped up the defensive pressure.

Calhoun trailed 38-36 at halftime. The home team forced four steals in the first four minutes of the second half to tie the game at 40.

From there, Cardona took over. Once his 3-pointer with 3:51 left in the third went in, he scored 14 points down the stretch. Alonzo and Jackson combined for 28 points on the night.

Calhoun led 57-54 with 90 seconds remaining in regulation. The crowd thought the Sandcrabs would be able to send its seniors off right, but another member of the Class of 2013 nearly stole the show.

Calallen's Christian Cantu drained a 3-pointer from the wing with 26 seconds left in regulation. The senior guard scored six of his 16 points in the fourth quarter. However, he fouled out before the end of regulation and could not do a thing to thwart Calhoun collecting a second straight district championship.

Another Calhoun senior, Carlos Duenez, was in street clothes Friday night due to an injury. Then again, Duenez and Miles were the only seniors who missed the preseason and some early non-district games because of football commitments.

"They didn't want to live with any regrets," said Calhoun coach Aaron Anderson. "I told them 'Guys, the regret and the heartache that you will feel dropping your last game at home with all this at stake, you don't want that on your heart.' . "I said 'Live in the moment, seize the day and take advantage of all your opportunities.'"

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