It was a family affair Friday night between the Calallen Wildcats and the Tuloso-Midway Warriors as Uncle Phillip Belford of the Warriors matched up against nephew Deron Belford of the Wildcats. Although Phillip outscored Deron, 18-6, Calallen won 53-44.
"When I saw that we were up by 11 at one time, I couldn't believe it," said Calallen head coach Jeff Crews. "It felt a whole lot closer than winning by nine points. It felt like we won by just one."
The first half was dominated by Tuloso-Midway as the Warriors attacked the boards and scored almost at will.
Phillip Belford was automatic from 3-point range, shooting four in the first half.
In the second quarter alone he went back-to-back-to-back from the 3-point line.
Calallen was unable to find a rhythm until Eric Shulz was fouled with three seconds left before halftime.
Shulz scored the first shot, but he missed the second. Michael Conroy grabbed the offensive rebound for a lay up as time expired. The Wildcats were down by 10 at the half, 33-23, but that did not last long.
The third quarter was all Calallen as the Wildcats continued their scoring streak from the end of the second quarter to go on an 11-0 run. What was once a 13-point lead for the Warriors went down to two.
Phillip Belford was able to end the run with a jumper to give Tuloso-Midway a 35-31 lead, but that was the beginning of the end for the Warriors in the game.
Down 35-34, Calallen had possession of the ball. Deron Belford found Conroy near the post as he scored the basket to give the Wildcats the lead.
Conroy became the highlight reel in the third quarter, scoring 12 of his game-high 19 points. He also finished the game with five rebounds and three blocks.
Calallen outscored the Warriors, 23-4 in the third quarter, as the Wildcats turned it around and were ahead 46-37.
"I was hoping that we could come back in the second quarter," Crews said. "When you come to Tuloso-Midway, it is such a hard place to play. We couldn't control Phillip in the first half, but we did a better job in the second half."
Phillip Belford scored only two points in the second half.
The Wildcats allowed only 11 points in the second half.
With just two games left in the season, both Calallen and the Warriors have already clinched playoff spots, but the district title is still up for grabs.
As of Monday, the Wildcats and the Flour Bluff Hornets were tied for the District 31-4A lead with 6-1 records. Tuloso-Midway was close behind with a 5-2 record.
With two games left in the regular season, Calallen plays the Alice Coyotes at home Friday night at Calallen High School. Calallen's final game is Tuesday against the Flour Bluff Hornets, who gave the Wildcats their only district loss this season.
Tuloso-Midway plays at Robstown Friday night against the Cottonpickers before T-M finishes its regular season Tuesday at Alice against the Coyotes.