After a magical run on the football ended abruptly in the SCISA Class A playoffs, many Calhoun Academy players turned their attention to the basketball court.
CA head coach, Gressette Felder, said competitive spirit, and will to win have been key factors to his team opening the season with an unbeaten record.
The Cavaliers improved to 8-0 on the season with a 52-26 victory over Carolina Academy Monday night.
“The season has been good so far Felder said. “I’m really pleased with the way the team opened the year (a victory over Dorchester Academy). We thought we would have to knock some of the rust off, but they have come to play. The kids are playing good ball, but I think they can play even better.”
Felder said he noticed something special in this team on a trip to Florence to face The King’s Academy.
“We managed just 50 points against Dorchester, and I was worried about our offense,” Felder said. “But we managed to put up 50 in the first half against The King’s, and I saw that the team was beginning to put everything together. I have used that game as a reference point this season.”
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The team is led by five seniors: Matt Layton, Kade Strickland, Mac Felder, Ryan Quattlebaum and Cale Quattlebaum.
“With no seniors on last year’s team, this group’s leadership has made the difference this season,” Felder said. “These kids have set a standard with their attitude and effort so far this season, they are showing up to everything and everyone else is following.”
All five were also on the Cavalier football team that went 8-1 during the regular season.
“They were successful in football this year, and have learned a lot about leadership,” Felder said. “They realized they could have success on the football field and have now brought that attitude to the court.”
“We’ve worked together as a team, and this team has great chemistry,” senior Mac Felder said. “Everyone on the team has a leadership role, going into region play will be competitive, but we just have to keep working hard.
Calhoun Academy puts their unbeaten record on the line this weekend when they take part in the Senn Freight Lines Hoopfest presented by Newberry Academy. The Cavaliers will face Wyman King Academy Friday and SCISA Class A state runner-up Newberry Academy Saturday.
“(These games) will be a good test for us,” Felder said. “We’re looking forward to the challenge of playing Newberry Academy. They are one of the best coached teams in the state. The way they play, and the way they’re coached, it will be a huge test.”
Following the tournament, Calhoun Academy will be off until after the New Year when they open region play at home against Northside Christian Academy.
“We play in one of the top regions in the state, but we feel like we can compete,” Felder said.