OXFORD ‑The four-year drought is over for Callaway.
Behind another stellar performance from Daeshun Ruffin and John Crumley the Chargers were able to get past Center Hill 78-62 to claim the MHSAA Class 5A State Championship at The Pavilion at Ole Miss on Friday night.
It is the Chargers (25-5) eighth state title in school history and first since 2015. Callaway is now tied with Gulfport and Lanier for the most state titles in boys basketball.
“It’s a great feeling and it’s unbelievable. I’ve been sick to my stomach the last 3-4 days because I wanted it for these guys so bad. They worked hard and bought in to what we were teaching them,” said Callaway coach David Sanders. “John Crumley played out of his mind tonight I don’t think he had a game like that all season.”
Crumley would start the game out scoring Callaway’s first six points and Ruffin scored the Chargers final 10 points to give Callaway a 16-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Crumley then would score eight points in the second quarter alone to help build the Charger lead to 37-22 at halftime.
“That was the game plan if we can get out to a fast start it would help us,” Sanders said. “They have trouble from playing from behind as they are with the lead and anytime you have to chase Daeshun around is going to be tough on you. Daeshun did a great job of leading us tonight. To be able to win a state championship here at my alma mater is a special feeling. I’ve always wanted to coach here and it was a great opportunity.”
The Chargers opened the third quarter on a 15-4 run to extend their lead to 52-26 midway through.
Midway through the fourth quarter Center Hill did get within 12 points at 64-52, but the Chargers went on a quick 7-2 run to extend the lead to 71-54 to seal it.
Crumley finished the game with 17 points and 13 rebounds.
“The last couple games I didn’t play well,” Crumley said. “Worked hard all week to step up in this game and it paid off.”
Ruffin finished with a game-high 33 points and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
“We just a team all around and we feed of each other,” Ruffin said. “The way John came out tonight I had to step my game up and the whole team fed off that and we came out with the win.”
Decorian Payton had 28 points to lead Center Hill, while Jacquez Hardin added 10 points for the Mustangs (25-9), the defending 5A state champions.
“Our game plan was to key on Daeshun and we didn’t expect John to be that good in the post,” said Center Hill coach Newton Mealer. “When you go 1-for-20 from the three-point line you aren’t going to win against a quality team shooting the ball like we did.”