HUDSON, NC (By Colt Jensen of CCC&TI)…The first annual Chic-Fil-A Caldwell Classic was very successful for the Caldwell Tech Cobras in several ways. On the court, Caldwell Tech (5-2) won both of their home tournament games, and on the sidelines Caldwell Tech attracted some of the biggest crowds of the year.
“It was a really good tournament, we really appreciate the support from Chick-Fil-A, and this is something we hope to make an annual event that continues to grow each year.” head coach Matt Anderson said “Friday had a good turnout, but there were two big playoff games in the county hosted by Hibriten and South Caldwell. Saturday the attendance picked up and the atmosphere both days was great.”
Caldwell Tech’s first game was against Combine Academy, and it was a nailbiter from start to finish. The first half saw both teams constantly swapping leads and ended in a 38-38 tie. The overmatched Combine Academy took advantage of the mental lapses and low effort by the Cobras to keep pace, but an excellent effort by Cobras guard Jaylon Wray, who scored 11 of his 24 points in the first half, kept the Caldwell in the game.
The second half was a continuation of the first half, until the final thirty seconds of the game. The 30 second mark of the game was tied 69-69. It was at that point when Caron Corpening came up with two clutch baskets for the Caldwell Cobras. Corpening hit two fast break layups in just under 10 seconds to put the Cobras up 73-69 with 20 seconds to go, but those that was not enough to put Combine Academy out of reach. Combine Academy came back down the court and hit a three point shot to move within one point of Caldwell. In the final seconds, Caldwell hit two free throws, and secured an offensive rebound to seal a 75-72 win for the Cobras.
Even with the win, the coaching staff was not pleased with the performance.
“It was a frustrating game. There were certain things we worked on practice that we didn’t do in the game, and our effort level was really low. Collectively, we just didn’t bring our brand of basketball.” assistant coach Jeremy Harper said. “But, when it came down to winning time, our guys made plays. I was really proud of Caron. In those last 30 seconds, he made two big layups and a free throw, and that was big. It wasn’t the effort we wanted, but at the end of the day I would rather take an ugly win than a pretty loss.”
The disappointment didn’t just come from the coaching staff.
“I didn’t play my best, I didn’t knock down the shots I wanted to, or help my team play with the energy we needed as a team.” guard Trevor Willis said.
Willis, who was supporting a new protective face mask, didn’t make any excuses his performance.
“It’s weird and awkward to have something on your face, and that definitely didn’t help my game.” Willis said. “But, if it comes down to it I’ll take it off and keep playing just to help our team.”
The second and final game of the weekend was a much improved performance for the Caldwell Tech Cobras as they took on Moravian Prep.
Caldwell rode a red hot offensive start to a 46-37 halftime lead. In the second half, Caldwell kept the good offensive performance rolling, and that led to a 99-93 win over Moravian Prep. Cobras guard Jeremiah Phifer led all scorers with 25 points.
“In our first game we just didn’t play with the type of effort that we expect out of our program, but I think our guys responded really well for our second game.” coach Anderson said. “We got back to playing extremely hard and taking pride in defense and rebounding. We still have a lot we need to work on but I was pleased with how our guys responded after our first game.”
After a great weekend Caldwell Tech is now looking ahead to a difficult road matchup with Catawba Valley this Wednesday at 7pm.