It’s not every week that the Calhoun Sandcrabs come away with a tournament championship trophy but they made sure not to settle for anything less this week as they won the Bay City Holiday Classic.
On Friday afternoon, the Calhoun Sandcrabs won the tournament championship, beating the East Bernard Brahmas, 54-32 at the Bay City High School Gymnasium.
“It’s been a while since we’ve played in any tournament championship and we get beaten down in our district a little bit and we’re improving,” said Calhoun head coach John Curta. “I think we’ll surprise some people. This is a step in the right direction. It’s a stepping-stone. We’re getting to a point to where we expect to win.”
Kordell Etheridge had 14 points to lead the Sandcrabs while David Vargas had 10 and Vince Delgado nine.
For the Brahmas, J.J. Talas had eight points while Chris Baggett had six. Trey Schmidt finished with five.
It was the second meeting between the two teams in the tournament as Calhoun won the first meeting, 61-40 in pool play. The Sandcrabs went 6-0 in tournament play and finished first in Pool B. They knocked off Tuloso-Midway in the semifinal earlier on Friday.
“We played pretty hard,” said East Bernard head coach Jerry Brantly. “I thought Calhoun shot the ball really well. They shot the ball well just as well when we played them the first time. They’re a good basketball team. They are well coached. They do a good job and they did a good job at shooting.”
East Bernard went 3-3 in tournament play and finished second in Pool B. They beat Van Vleck in the semifinal.
Just as they’ve done all week, the Sandcrabs used a powerful first quarter run to begin the game, going on a 10-1 run in the first quarter.
“We’ve been very strong in the first quarters,” said Curta. “We start out fast in first quarters. We made some good shots. The guys share the ball and have the confidence to step up and shoot the ball.”
Calhoun used a couple of inside shots to take a 14-2 lead.
The Sandcrabs’ lead was 12-points at the end of the first quarter.
Logan Baird scored a 3-pointer at the start of the second quarter for the Brahmas.
It was the start of an 11-0 run for East Bernard as they pulled to within one.
Calhoun responded with an inside shot but Schmidt came right back on the opposite end of the floor for a field goal.
“Just being able to play against some good competition and getting better was a good thing for us,” said Brantly. “We’re still learning.”
Cade Koeppen’s put-back off the backboard brought East Bernard to within three but David Vargas responded with a 3-pointer with 40 seconds before halftime.
Vargas would hit another trey, this time from the paint, on the ensuing Calhoun possession and the Sandcrabs had a 25-19 halftime lead.
Etheridge’s inside jumper was apart of Calhoun’s 7-0 run to start the second half.
“We shot the ball well,” Curta said. “We moved the ball really well and that helped us. As long as we keep sharing the ball and moving it around well, we’ll be good. We had a lot of assists. We came out firing. We’ve scored so many points in so many first quarters in this tournament. We need to improve on defensive rebounds.”
Jaylen Stuart’s 3-point basket kept the pressure up for the Sandcrabs.
A missed opportunity for the Brahmas came in the form of a transition layup attempt by Talas who couldn’t finish the shot.
Talas would score a 3-pointer on the Brahmas’ last offensive possession of the third but Etheridge would answer with a 3-pointer of his own as the third quarter buzzer sounded and Calhoun carried a 44-25 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Sandcrabs continued to stay in front in the fourth quarter and the Brahmas never made a threatening comeback.