The gameplan was simple for Callaway.
The Chargers wanted to jump on Murrah early, then rest their stars for the majority of the second half.
Behind an explosive first half and the Dandy Dozen duo of Malik Newman and Mario Kegler, Callaway ran past Murrah 86-58 in front of a packed house at Northwest Middle School on Saturday.
“Wanted to jump on them quick, and not let them hang around,” said Newman, the reigning Mr. Basketball and top junior in the Class of 2015.
“(We) played great tonight as team, especially defense, and forced a lot of turnovers and got some transition baskets.”
Newman poured in a game-high 28 points and had four rebounds and four assists for the Chargers (9-0), ranked No. 1 in the Super 10 and Class 5A.
Newman scored 23 points in the first half, helping Callaway charge out to a 51-23 lead at halftime.
“We did a good job of coming out from the start with a lot of intensity, and that is something we have not been doing to begin ball games,” first-year Callaway coach David Sanders said. “With us being so big as we are, we were able to control the glass.”
Mario Kegler, rated the No. 16 sophomore in the country, added 17 points for Callaway, the two-time defending Class 5A champions.
“I think when Malik and Mario develop more chemistry they are going to be very hard to stop,” Sanders said. “Malik already gets doubled team every night, but when Mario gets better, it will very tough for teams to double both those guys.”
Sanders said Tuesday night’s game at Meridian will be the first true test for this team.
“They are disciplined team and have played together as a team for a long time and it is at their place which is probably one of the toughest places to play,” he said. “We just got to focus because they play an up-tempo style of offense where Murrah tried to slow the game down.”
Lajulius Holder led Murrah with 18 points. Dandy Dozen guard and Middle Tennessee State signee Jacob Ivory added 10 points for the Mustangs (3-7), who were ranked No. 5 in the preseason Super 10 after winning Class 6A a year ago.
“They are one of the top elite teams in this state and they played extremely hard and their size caused us problems from the start of the game,” Murrah coach Timothy Speech said. “As a team as a whole, we were not really there tonight.”
Speech said his team is going through growing pains.
“We have really have not found our identity as a team and guys still trying their roles on the team,” he said. “