In a high school basketball game where momentum swings were critical, McCallie came out ahead on Thursday night at East Hamilton.
The Hurricanes had the upper hand in the first and third quarters while the Blue Tornado captured the second and fourth quarters. McCallie just happened to have a three-point lead when the final horn sounded.
The Blue Tornado improved to 2-1 with the hard-fought 68-65 victory in the non-district game.
It was a slow start for both teams, but the Hurricanes owned an 8-5 lead when the first quarter ended.
McCallie got things turned around with a 10-0 run to start the second quarter as the Blue Tornado carried a 32-24 lead into the dressing room at halftime.
Cam Walker scored on an inside move to give McCallie a 36-28 lead with 6:30 showing in the third stanza before the Hurricanes scored 10 unanswered points for a 38-36 lead less than two minutes later.
Adrian Thomas scored on a putback with 4:21 showing in the third for a 38-38 tie and the game was knotted four more times in the third quarter before the Hurricanes got back-to-back buckets from Mac Brower and Tank Sparks in the final 37 seconds for a 51-47 advantage with eight minutes remaining.
There were three lead changes and two ties in that final quarter, but McCallie took its final lead on an inside move by Walker with 56 seconds to play before Chauncey Alford got a steal and a layup 16 seconds later for a 65-62 Blue Tornado advantage.
Kenny Bunton scored on a short baseline jumper with 17 seconds to get the Hurricanes within one at 65-64, but C.J. Fritz calmly stepped to the charity stripe six seconds later and made both shots to keep McCallie's lead at three points.
Brower and Alford both made a free throw in the final 10 seconds, but East Hamilton still had a shot as they trailed by three with 8.5 seconds to play.
Tracy Thompson launched a 3 at the end, but it was off the mark as Thomas grabbed the miss to secure the victory.
McCallie had four football players who just started practicing on Monday and it will take time for them to get in basketball shape, but they all made positive contributions to Thursday night's win.
"I wish we had these guys at Boyd-Buchanan last week, but we're a different team with them in there," said McCallie coach Dan Wadley about Walker, Thomas, Fritz and J.J. Lewis.
"I really didn't know what to expect tonight as all I was asking for was effort and intensity. I thought we played hard and those free throws down the stretch were a key. We didn't play well in the third quarter, but we picked up our energy level in the fourth.
"We got 3 happy in the third, but we started getting the ball inside in the fourth and that's where we won the game. Give East Hamilton a lot of credit as they took it to us. I guess the biggest thing is that we didn't panic down the stretch.
"We're still a work in progress, but we'll keep getting better as the season progresses," the veteran coach added.
East Hamilton coach Michael Stone is still missing a few football players, but he didn't use that as an excuse for his team's third straight loss.
"It's fun when you're on the other side, but we missed way too many layups and free throws. Those little things matter in a close game like this. Our defensive intensity was good, but we showed our youth tonight.
"McCallie had a huge size advantage, but we have to capitalize on our opportunities and tonight, we didn't. I'm just glad that our district schedule doesn't start for a few more weeks," he said in closing.
Thomas was the leader for McCallie with 22 points while Alford followed with 14 and Walker with 10.
The freshman Brower scored 19 points to lead four East Hamilton players in double figures.
Bunton was next with 13 while James Wright and Sparks both finished with a dozen.
McCallie won the rebound battle by a 30-27 margin. Adkins had 10 for McCallie while Tracy Thompson and Wright both snagged seven for the Hurricanes.
East Hamilton returns to action on Tuesday with a home game against Cumberland County while McCallie will be at Cleveland next Wednesday.
GPS 60, EAST HAMILTON 28: This one was decided in the first quarter as the unbeaten Bruisers raced to a 25-5 lead and never looked back.
The biggest lead of the game came at the end of the third quarter with GPS up 59-24, meaning the clock kept running in the fourth quarter.
Akia Harris was the leader for GPS with 18 points while teammate Katie Morgan was next with 15. Reagan Williams finished with nine points.
Maggie Woods and Merci Wood both had nine points for the Lady Hurricanes.
GPS 25 14 20 1 -- 60
EAST HAMILTON 5 11 8 4 -- 28
GPS (60) -- A. Harris 18, Shutters 4, Williams 9, Ware 6, Crownover, Morgan 15, Spears 3, Pitts 5, Hudson, K. Harris, Newbold, Martin.
EAST HAMILTON (28) -- Pettitt, Woods 9, Caudle, Stovall, Denton, Wood 9, Black 5, Giles 3, Mastin, Zackery 2.
3-POINT GOALS: GPS 2 (Morgan, Spears); East Hamilton 4 (Woods 3, Giles).
McCALLIE 5 27 15 21 -- 68
EAST HAMILTON 8 16 27 14 -- 65
McCALLIE (68) -- Moxey, Alford 14, Clark, Baird 3, Atkins 7, Lewis 2, McDonald 4, Fritz 6, Thomas 22, Walker 10.
EAST HAMILTON (65) -- Thompson 9, Brower 19, Sparks 12, Bunton 13, Wright 12, Chacko, Wingard, Beach.
3-POINT GOALS: McCallie 3 (Alford, Baird, Atkins); East Hamilton 4 (Thompson, Brower 2, Bunton).
(email John Hunt at email@example.com)