Paul Michael Calhoun brings the basketball up the court for Starkville Christian Thursday night. Calhoun was recognized on senior night at the Cougar Cave. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
He scraps, hustles and dives for loose basketballs.
When it comes to leading by example, there's not many who do it better that Paul Michael Calhoun of the Starkville Christian School Cougars.
Calhoun played his final game in the green and white SCS uniform Thursday night, a 68-36 victory over the Grace Christian Eagles at the Cougar Cave.
There were times when Calhoun couldn't imagine how quick the end of his career on the court at SCS would come, but it came faster than he realized.
Calhoun was recognized prior to the tip of the varsity boys game along with Hannah Horstmeyer, a senior with the Lady Cougars.
"I was so happy to play," Calhoun said. "It was rough at the beginning, but I'm glad with the way it ended up. I'm so happy. I played for this team six years. I'm going to miss it in the future. I can't explain it."
Calhoun scored 17 of his game-high 23 points in the second half for SCS in a result that was really never in doubt.
Caleb Jordan scored 11 first-half points and Austin Foxx added 10 as the Cougars held a comfortable 32-14 lead at halftime.
Starkville Christian School boys coach Mark Horstmeyer noticed the way several players got involved and said it was a good way to send out a solid senior like Calhoun.
"It was a very emotional night for us all, but I was so happy to see everyone play a role," Horstmeyer said. "I think you could see at the beginning the importance of Caleb taking over. Paul Michael was dishing out assists in the beginning and getting everyone involved. Christopher (Horstmeyer) played good defense against their point guard who scored 40 on us the last time we played.
"It was the roles everyone played. Jesse (Little) played good minutes and Ryan Burger has been growing."
Little followed Calhoun in the scoring department for the Cougars with 13 points in the game, while Jordan and Foxx had 11 points each.
With its seventh victory of the season, it was the most ever for the SCS boys program so Horstmeyer can see the progress.
"It's a sign growth and the boys spending the time, effort and learning how to play as a team," Horstmeyer said.
Calhoun, who added nine points and four assists to his scoring outing, hopes he left something behind in terms of leadership.
"I tried, but I'm not perfect," Calhoun said.
In junior varsity boys action, Little scored 16 of his game-high 25 points in the first half as Starkville Christian won a 43-40 decision.
"That was the best game Jesse ever played in my mind," Horstmeyer said. "He played smart and played strong."
Nick Wylie was next in the scoring column with six points for the Cougars, who won 13 games for the season. It was the first loss for Grace.
Heather Koehn had 12 points for SCS in the girls game that was made up of varsity and junior varsity players. The Lady Cougars won 25-8.
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