MOKANE — The North Callaway Thunderbirds needed a monumental rally to maintain both their winning streak and championship prospects.
No. 2 seed North Callaway overcame a 15-point deficit midway through the third quarter and outscored No. 7 South Callaway 20-9 in the fourth quarter as the Thunderbirds outlasted the Bulldogs 50-47 in the first round of the South Callaway Invitational Tournament on Tuesday night.
Sophomore guard Cody Cash converted both ends of a 1-and-1 free-throw opportunity with 16 seconds left in the game to give North Callaway (10-2) the three-point victory. The Thunderbirds — who have now won 10 straight — previously defeated South Callaway 48-34 on Dec. 19 in Kingdom City.
"I have to give all the credit to the players — they found a way to come back," North Callaway head coach Matt Miller said of Tuesday night's win. "They're very persistent and they never quit.
"South Callaway played a heck of a game."
The Thunderbirds trailed 14-6 after one quarter, but outscored the Bulldogs 13-11 in the second quarter to cut their deficit to 25-19 at halftime. South Callaway then built its double-digit lead in the third quarter and carried a 38-30 advantage into the final 8 minutes of play.
Senior guard Khobi Kellerman responded with 15 points, including two 3-pointers, and grabbed eight rebounds to direct North Callaway. Junior guard Gabe Cash hit a pair of 3-pointers in supplying 10 points, while Cody Cash passed out six assists and came up with five steals.
Senior guard Dylan Paschang countered with a game-high 19 points — including five 3s — to spark the Bulldogs (4-9). Senior guard Treysen Gray tallied 14 points.
North Callaway moves on to meet either No. 3 seed Montgomery County or No. 6 New Haven in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the high school gym. South Callaway will play the Montgomery County-New Haven loser at the same time in the consolation semifinals in the middle school gym.