The postseason path through Jackson continues to be a tough one for the Coast’s boys basketball teams.
Playing just 11 miles away from its own campus, Callaway took full advantage of the home court edge and thumped Harrison Central 75-60 Saturday in the Class 6A state quarterfinals.
Callaway, a much bigger and more athletic squad, took control from the outset, leading 23-6 after one quarter.
Harrison Central rebounded after the rough start, but it could never quite put together a run that was big enough to mount a rally at the Williams Athletic and Assembly Center on the Jackson State campus.
“They came out and jumped on us from the start,” Harrison Central coach Boo Hardy said. “We tried to make a little momentum, but we could never catch up.”
Harrison Central (23-8) got farther in the postseason than any other boys team off the Coast as the only squad to qualify for the state quarterfinals.
“That’s a good team that we just faced,” Hardy said. “It should be a good game between them and Meridian (in the 6A semifinals).
“I’m proud of the way our kids played throughout the whole year. Nobody gave them a chance to be where they are now, but they just stuck together. I’m happy for our team.”
Junior forward Dayquan Perkins had a big day inside for the Red Rebels, posting a game high of 27 points and grabbing eight rebounds. He made 9-of-12 shots from the field and hit 9-of-14 free throws.
“Playing up here, it’s not easy,” Perkins said. “I had one goal and that was to get my team involved. They kept my head through it. I was frustrated, but we came together.”
Junior guard Dajon Whitworth was the only other Harrison Central player in double digits, scoring 12 points and dishing out a pair of assists.
In a game where Harrison Central needed the outside shot to serve as an equalizer against a much bigger Callaway team, the Red Rebels missed all nine of their 3-point tries.
Callaway out-rebounded Harrison central, 36-27.
The Red Rebels turned the ball over 17 times, compared to 10 for Callaway.
Callaway had four different players score in double digits, including burly 6-foot-6 senior Kassim Nicholson, who was impressive in all aspects of the game. He scored 22 points, 14 in the first half, and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.
“He’s been like that the last three years,” Callaway coach David Sanders said. “I don’t understand why he hasn’t received more attention and offers. He plays 1-through-5 for me. He’s really a match-up problem. He played two really good games against Meridian. He’s a special kid and I hate to see him leave.”
Tanarrio Ransburgh scored 15 points, John Knight III added 11 and Ahmad Anthony contributed 10 for the Chargers (22-10).
Callaway will play Meridian at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday in the 6A semifinals.