The Calallen Wildcats brought home their first Calallen Christmas Classic championship since 2007 Saturday night, defeating San Angelo Central 75-65 in the title game.
“It means a lot,” Wildcat coach Randy Lowrance said. “It gives these kids a lot of confidence. It gives them more confidence in district and even after, in the playoffs. It's a big deal to win your own tournament and there were some good teams here. It feels good.”
Calallen trailed by nine at halftime before turning things around in the third quarter. Two Bobcat technical fouls out of the break helped fuel a 14-0 Wildcat run that seemed to tilt the game in their favor.
“I think the momentum definitely changed with the technical fouls,” Lowrance said. “They definitely got our guys fired up, and it definitely seemed like it took the wind out of their sails a little bit. The technical fouls definitely did not work to their advantage.”
A Dillon Vaughan three-point play gave Calallen a 51-43 lead at the 1:39 minute mark in the third quarter before the Wildcats took a five-point lead into the final eight minutes.
Central quickly cut the lead to 54-53 with just less than seven minutes to play, but the Wildcats answered with an 8-0 run to essentially put the game out of reach.
Calallen defeated Mercedes, Orange Grove, and Aransas Pass en route to the championship game. The defense was on display in the team's first three games, giving up no more than 41 points in each contest.
“Any time you hold someone to 21 points in a whole game, that's something that you can brag about,” Lowrance said following the Wildcats' 29-point victory over OG.
Calallen's sharp shooting from beyond the arc was also showcased throughout the tournament.
“Our guards really have been shooting the ball well all year,” Lowrance said after the 65-41 win over AP. “When they get an open three, they will definitely take a three-point shot – and I'm good with that. They work hard in practice – we shoot a lot, and it's really paid off for us.”