Knights win one for Coach Caldwell

After dedicating game, season to legendary coach, Mac wins in double OT on Wade’s buzzer-beating put back


Gregory James

Rob Wade celebrates with teammate Albert Garza after sinking the game-winning shot on a put back as the second overtime period expired. It was the Knights’ third shot on the game’s final possession, and it dropped through the basket after the buzzer sounded while the ball was still in midair.

Gregory James, photo editor

Video by Randy Varela, provided to MacJournalism by Emmett Sweeney via Stuart Wade. Reposted with permission.

Coach Caldwell was watching over us. That last-second layup; that was all Coach Caldwell.’

— varsity assistant coach Carlin Shaw

The clock winds down as double overtime draws to a close. The Vikings lead the Knights 57-56 after a successful layup. The Knights call a timeout with 30 seconds left on the clock. The Knights hurry the ball down the court, the energy in the stadium at a fever pitch, and they pass the ball around up top trying to find a good shot. Finally Takai Satberry drives towards the hoop with five seconds left on the clock. His shot clangs off the backboard but on the other side Rob Wade is there to tip the ball back in. He misses the first time, and the audience gasps, but then he puts it up again, the buzzer sounds with the ball frozen in midair above the rim and then, miraculously, it sinks in as time expires. The gymnasium explodes into pandemonium as Wade’s teammates and members of the McCallum student section rush the court to celebrate with Wade.

If it seems like a moment of divine intervention, well, perhaps that’s exactly what it was.

ON A DRIVE: Darius Lewis drives to the hoop in the Knights’ 58-57 double-overtime over the Lanier Vikings. Gregory James.

The Knights won the game last Friday night, 58-57, to go 3-2 in district play. Satberry led a balanced team scoring with 14 points. Wade and senior forward Norman Boyd scored 12 points, followed by Albert Garza with nine and Sam Werkenthin with eight.

Individual game stats and even the team’s district record don’t explain the true importance of Friday’s McCallum win. The game held much more meaning for the Knights than numbers can reveal. The win was especially meaningful because of the passing on Thursday of longtime McCallum basketball coach Don Caldwell. The team dedicated that game and the rest of their season to him and felt great when they won for him.

“Coach Caldwell was watching over us.” varsity assistant coach Carlin Shaw said. “That last second layup: that was all Coach Caldwell.”

The Knights had stayed close to the Vikings through the first quarter, only trailing by two at the end at 12-10 Vikings. Then Lanier went on a run that McCallum could not answer until the end of the second quarter, but McCallum still trailed by five, 23-18, at the half. The Knights were staying in the game, but varsity head coach Daniel Fuentes knew that in order to win, the Knights needed to bring up their energy levels and their level of play.

We’re a group of fighters, and we showed it tonight.

— sophomore guard Rob Wade

“I told them that we weren’t playing with the same energy that Lanier was playing with at all,” Fuentes said. “We were not playing at our level. When the guys realized that we came back and went on an 18-0 run and by the end we were playing at our level, at the McCallum level.”

The Knights outscored the Vikings in the third quarter, 16-2. The surge came from scores by Albert Garza with two 3-point shots, Takai Satberry and Rob Wade each added two layups, and Sam Werkenthin sank a mid-range shot. Unfortunately for the Knights, the Vikings rebounded in the fourth quarter with 16 points to McCallum’s seven to tied the game at 41 by the end of regulation.

BREAD AND BUTTER: Rob Wade shoots a close range shot in the Knights’ 58-57 win over the Lanier Vikings. Wade would shoot a similar shot at the buzzer to get the Knights the win in double overtime. Photo by Gregory James.

The Vikings started off hot in the first overtime period and were able to go up 45-41, but the Knights fought back to tie the game. The Vikings went on the attack again and were able to gain another four-point lead with less than a minute to go in the first overtime period. The Knights survived, however, thanks to a clutch three-point shot by Albert Garza to make the score 49-48, the Knights closed to within one. After the Vikings sank one free throw, the Knights rebounded the missed second attempt and called a timeout. Then as time expired on the first period of extra time, Darius Lewis drove in and scored a game-saving two points to tie the game again at 50 and extend it into a second overtime.

We can’t have … Norman foul out. He’s got to be on the floor at all times.

— varsity head coach Daniel Fuentes

Lewis’s heroics were huge, but the game’s outcome was still in jeopardy. After a back-and-forth start to the second overtime, the Knights gained the lead, 56-52, before the Vikings would score five unanswered points to lead by one with under 30 seconds to play.

The rest as they say is an instant classic in Mac history. The celebration was intense and not just because it was a crucial district win that puts the Knights back above .500 in district play. Although Rob Wade was happy with the outcome of the game. he said that he thought the Knights could have done more to prepare for the Vikings mentally.

“ I think we underestimated Lanier, and it messed us up,” Wade said.  “We fought hard even after Norm fouled out, through all the bad calls and whatever happened. We’re a group of fighters and we showed it tonight.”

Senior point guard Andrew Alvarez dribbles the ball down court against Lanier defender Shamar Roach in the Knights’ 58-57 win over the Vikings. Photo by Gregory James.

Coach Fuentes agreed with Wade’s sentiments. The Knights who had come out flat, had to pick up their energy as the game went on. The team also made several mistakes that nearly cost them the game.

“We can improve on everything,” Fuentes said. “We’re still a pretty young team. We can’t have one of our main starters like Norman foul out. He’s got to be on the floor at all times. We have to take care of the ball more, that’s one of the big improvements we’ve got to work on.”

The Knights face LBJ at McCallum this Tuesday at 8 p.m. Both teams are near the top of the district standings. According the MaxPreps, the Jags are 3-1, a half game behind Reagan and Dripping Springs who are at 4-1. The Knights are 3-2.

Fans, players and coaches storm the court to celebrate in the aftermath of Rob Wade’s buzzer-beating, game-winner, double-overtime put back that propelled McCallum to a 58-57 district win over Lanier at the Don Caldwell Gymnasium. Video by Gregory James.