Facing the top-ranked team in Class 3A, the Callisburg Wildcats knew the Saturday, Feb. 27, Class 3A regional quarterfinal game was going to be a difficult challenge.
Dallas Madison was everything advertised and more as the Trojans jumped out to a 20-1 lead and cruised to an 87-37 victory at Denton High School.
It was the first and only loss of the season for Callisburg as the Wildcats finished 28-1.
Callisburg head coach Shad Reed said the Trojans were hitting on all cylinders.
“They knew that we have a player averaging 30 points and I knew they would be pressuring us for four quarters,” Reed said. “I knew we were going to have a tough time staying in front of them. They did a good job with their dribble drive. The first quarter was killer. You can’t dig out of a hole that big. We defending decently in our man defense, but I’m kind of at a loss for words.”
The Wildcats trailed heavily at halftime and Reed admitted it was a weird situation because they hadn’t been in that position all season long.
“We don’t have a 30-point play, so we just have to scratch and claw our way back,” Reed said. “We set some short-term goals in the game and I felt like we achieved them. I told them that I’m not a quitter and I don’t expect us to be quitters. They’re not going to take it easy on us. I felt like we didn’t shoot confident, but they had a lot to do with that too.”
Landon Condiff led the team with 18 points while Jessie Klein had nine points. The Trojans double and triple-teamed Condiff throughout much of the game and Reed said it wasn’t necessarily the pressure the Trojans applied that hurt them. It was the tempo of the game that led to bad shots and poor decisions.
“Madison raised its level of play and their overall athleticism and speed forced us to hurry some things and force some shots,” Reed said. “They got in transition out of it and we gave up the ball at inopportune times. We can’t turn it over and let them get points and that was the difference. I knew they were going to double Landon and we could never get the pressure off of us that allowed us to get into sets.”
The Wildcats will be graduating six seniors and will return three varsity players to hopefully build off the unprecedented season they had.
After the game, Reed and several the players were understandably emotional. He was also quick to thank all the supporters the team had throughout the season.
“You’re thankful for the season we had,” Reed said. “Everybody in that locker room wishes it was a little bit more competitive, but they didn’t quit. That team would have put 100 on you if you would have let them. We didn’t let them do that and that’s what I was proud of. I broke down in there. I’ve never had a season like this. We developed a family atmosphere. We just had a great year and success does that.
“I told the boys that they were a part of something that kind of resurrected an athletic program.”
This season was special to Reed not only because of the success the Wildcats enjoyed, but they did so while navigating a pandemic and the changes in the schedule.
“We got to play and practice every day, but I told them that those are the moments they’ll remember about this year,” Reed said. “I told them I wasn’t sure what I was going to do now that the season is over.”
Reach Patrick Hayslip at firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter at @PatrickHayslip