It wasn’t their usual district blowout, but the Callisburg Wildcats took care of business on the road against Paradise in a 59-49 victory on Tuesday, Jan. 12.

Callisburg head coach Shad Reed said he knew it was going to be a tough game because of the way the Panthers defend.

“I saw film and how they play other people,” Reed said. “They gave Ponder some fits and I knew they were going to give us some fits. We led 19-10 after the first quarter and Landon [Condiff] scored 13 out of our 19. He was on fire, but he came out for a little bit and Jessie Klein scored a lot of his 12 points in the second quarter. We pressed them early and turned them over.”

Condiff led all scorers with 32 points while Jessie Klein potted 12 points.

Callisburg was up 36-18 at half, but the Panthers put up 31 points in the second half to force the Wildcats to hang on in the final minutes.

“We kind of went cold in third,” Reed said. “We didn’t play bad, but they hit a couple 3s and it got down to a six-point lead, but Landon hit a couple buckets to push the lead back up to 10. It was a sloppy game after that.”

While Reed is happy his team is continuing to find ways to win as the Wildcats improved to 18-0 and 6-0 in District 10-3A, but he wasn’t pleased with the team limping to the end of the game.

“I’m frustrated that we’re not valuing a four-quarter game like we should,” Reed said. “I’ve told the kids that we’re playing like it’s a two-quarter game. Some of the teams we play don’t have the firepower to come back but if we don’t execute, we might slip up and somebody will beat us. These are the teams that are playoff teams.”

Reed said Paradise is underrated and will threaten for one of the final playoff spots in the district.

“They’re a sleeper team in our district,” Reed said. “They’ve got kids that can compete. They’re not sloppy and they’re decent. They can push for a fourth-place spot. They’re just a hard-nosed, grinding man-to-man team. They press you and they try to junk the game up a bit. They try to faceguard Landon and they put one of their better defenders on him to follow him. They’re well-coached and they remind me a lot of Whitesboro.”

Offensively, Reed said the team executed well and some of the bench players stepped up when needed.

“We moved the ball and we had some stuff designed to get Landon some shots,” Reed said. “We broke the pressure and got some fast-break baskets. We didn’t shoot the ball well from the perimeter. We only had two 3s. We got some good scoring though. Cobey Montgomery is one of my seniors and he stepped in and handled the ball in the second half. He was 5-of-6 from the free-throw line in crunch time, so I was proud of him for doing that.”

Reed said the Wildcats employed several defensive looks against the Panthers and for the most part, they delivered.

“I felt defensively we played pretty solid,” Reed said. “We threw in a 2-2-1 press and ran a 2-3 zone. They had a kid get hot on us with four 3s, but we went to man defense in the fourth and I was pretty pleased. We were pretty disciplined. I know we can run man and I like having that as a secondary defense because we run our matchup zone really well.”

As the Wildcats transition to the second half of district play, Reed said the goal is to remain focused and take it one game at a time.

Callisburg will host Valley View at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15, in the final game of the first half of district.

“We talked about it last night, we’ve got the second round starting next week I tell the kids that I respect every opponent,” Reed said. “I’ve gotten in situations before when a kid comes in and goes unconscious. Paradise just beat them by 50. We need to cut down on turnovers. We need to be more efficient moving the ball and we’re going to rotate nine guys in and get a lot of people on the floor.”

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