Cleveland, McMinn Send Soddy-Daisy Teams Packing In 5-AAA Tournament

Blue Raiders, Lady Cherokees Post Third Wins Of Season Over First-Round Foes

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - by Larry Fleming

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – It was rout night Wednesday.

Unfortunately, the Soddy-Daisy boys and girls were victimized in blowouts as the District 5-AAA high school basketball tournament opened at Cleveland High School.

The second-seeded Cleveland Blue Raiders unleashed two back-breaking runs in the first half and went on to demolish the Trojans, 69-42, for their third win over Soddy-Daisy this season.

In the night’s first game, McMinn County’s Lady Cherokees held the Lady Trojans to 10 first-half points and rolled to a 53-29 victory. It was also McMinn’s third win over Soddy-Daisy and second in three days.

With the opening-round victories, the Blue Raiders and Lady Cherokees advanced to the semifinals and earned spots in the Region 3-AAA tournament, which also will be held at Cleveland High.

Two more first-round games are scheduled tonight.

The third-seeded Cleveland girls (15-8) play Ooltewah (5-19) at 6 p.m. and the third-seeded Bradley Central Bears (14-11) tangle with No. 6 McMinn County (8-15) at 7:30 p.m.

The Blue Raiders never gave Soddy-Daisy a chance.

Cleveland (17-9) and Soddy-Daisy (9-15) were tied at 5-5, but the Blue Raiders ran off 12 straight points – four by Jahmal Johnson – and led 17-5 after one quarter.

Following a Soddy-Daisy 3 by James York to start the second period, Cleveland outscored the Trojans, 12-2, and stretched the lead to 29-10 and 51 seconds later the margin was 33-11.

That was it.

“The fast start was very satisfying,” Cleveland coach Jason McCowan said, “because it means your kids are listening and doing it at the right time of the season. We sure didn’t want to put ourselves in a hole we’d have to dig out of. We didn’t have to call a timeout to get their attention. I don’t think I called a timeout all night.”

It wasn’t necessary.

Cleveland was racing away, 35-14, at halftime.

“That’s what they do,” Soddy-Daisy coach Kevin Templeton said. “It’ll be 15-14 and then you look up and it’ll be 26-15. They can do those things.

“They’re pretty good. I thought we were ready to play. We’ve played better than this and it’s certainly not typical of how we’ve played the second half of the season. That’s what makes this so disappointing.”

Cleveland kept up the pressure, forcing Soddy-Daisy into numerous turnovers and forced shots. The Blue Raiders outscored the Trojans, 12-7, to start the third quarter and had a 47-21 advantage with 2:44 on the clock.

Soddy-Daisy scored eight of the game’s next 10 points, but still faced a 20-point deficit at 49-29. C.J. Bryant’s 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left in the quarter gave the Blue Raiders a 52-29 lead.

Johnson dropped in a layup, Isaiah Beaty converted a three-point play and Johnson hit another goal to extend the Blue Raiders’ lead to 59-29 with 7:05 left. Bryant drilled two 3s in the next two minutes and the spread was 67-35 at the 4:17 mark.

“Cleveland is deep,” Templeton said. “They’re fast. You know, speed never takes a day off. No doubt they were the most aggressive team out there and they had us reacting to them. We don’t want to be the reactor. We want to be the ‘actor,’ but we were on our heels the whole night.

“I’m not upset with my kids because they battled to the end. You have to give Cleveland all the credit. It was more about what they did than what we didn’t do.”

Despite having beaten the Trojans twice during the regular season by 82-63 and 60-36, the Blue Raiders came out with fire in their belly, avoiding a letdown in what often is termed as a “trap” after two previous victories over the same team.

“We’re playing well right now,” McCowan said. “I want them to focus on continuing to do that. This time last year was one of the few teams I’ve had that wasn’t playing better as the season went on. These kids are maturing and taking these games serious.”

Bryant led the Blue Raiders with a game-high 22 points, including three 3s. Johnson and Kendrick Thompson each scored 14 points.

York, a junior, scored 14 points and was the Trojans’ lone player in double figures.

In the opening girls game of the tournament, the Lady Cherokees (18-7) started strong against the Lady Trojans and quickly built a 19-5 lead with five points to open the second quarter.

The Lady Trojans (10-15) got a field goal by Mallory Wade from the left wing, but McMinn County’s Keke Smith scored seven straight points and opened a 31-12 advantage with 5:45 left in the third quarter.

McMinn County, which swept Soddy-Daisy in 20- and 28-point victories during the regular season, outscored the Lady Trojans, 8-2, during one fourth-quarter stretch and led, 49-25, with just over two minutes left.

“I’m really happy with the 17 turnovers we forced, but not with a lack of offensive production in the first half,” McMinn County coach Tim McPhail said. “Soddy-Daisy was outhustling us in the first half. I told our girls at halftime that if we wanted a chance at the championship they would have to make some changes in the second half, and they did that.”

Smith led the Lady Cherokees with 17 points. Haley Ward scored 12 points and Alisa Guardiola finished with 11.

Sydney Orr, the lone senior on the Lady Trojans’ roster, scored 11 points in her final prep basketball game for Soddy-Daisy.

“We had to break McMinn’s press and we knew it was coming,” Soddy-Daisy coach David Casteel said. “We did a better job against their pressure, but it wasn’t good enough.”




Soddy-Daisy                                    5 5 10 9 – 29   


McMinn County                             14 10 17 12 – 53  


Soddy-Daisy (29) – Harris 5, Hale 2, Sydney Orr 11, Mitchell, Smith 2, Hopkins 2, Ward 2, Hancock, Phillips, Duncan, Wade 5.


McMinn County (53) – Cornett 2, Wilson, Simbeck, Haley Ward 12, Burke 8, Dispensa 3, Kelley, Alisa Guardiola 11, Thompson, KeKe Smith 17.


3-Point Goals – Soddy-Daisy none; McMinn County 3 (Ward 2, Smith).



Soddy-Daisy                                    5 9 15 13 – 42 


Cleveland                                          17 18 17 17 – 69   


Soddy-Daisy (42) – Amos 7, Landreth 8, Carter 6, Wright 4, James York 14, Floyd 3, Millsaps, Kearney, Shaughnessy.


Cleveland (69) – C.J. Bryant 22, Ware 2, Kendrick Thompson 14, Beaty 5, Scott 3, Brown 2, Constant 2, Little 2, Jahmal Johnson 14, Bunion, McRee, Dykes, Gibson.


3-Point Goals – Soddy-Daisy 5 (York 3, Landreth, Floyd); Cleveland 5 (Bryant 3, Thompson 2).


Thursday’s Schedule


Seeds In Parenthesis


6 p.m. – (6) Ooltewah vs. (3) Cleveland, girls


7:30 p.m. – (6) McMinn County vs. (3) Cleveland, boys

Friday’s Schedule

6 p.m. – (5) Rhea County vs. (4) Walker Valley, girls

7:30 p.m. – (5) Rhea County vs. (4) Walker Valley, boys


(E-mail Larry Fleming at




Moc Wrestlers Compete In Blue & Gold Match At Chamberland Field

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team continues to develop innovative ways to showcase its student-athletes to fans and supporters.  Tonight's Blue & Gold Match at Chamberlain Field was another outstanding example of these efforts. The Mocs took their annual preseason exhibition outdoors to the middle of campus.  Over 300 fans showed with lawn ... (click for more)

UTC To Host SoCon Cross-Country Championships Saturday

 The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men’s and women’s cross country teams will host and compete in the 2016 Southern Conference Cross Country Championships this Saturday morning at Camp Jordan.   “It’s a great honor to host the Southern Conference,” Chattanooga head coach Andy Meyer said. “The weather is supposed to be good and people will get to see a quality ... (click for more)

School Board Chooses Charlotte Firm For Superintendent Search Firm; Lennon, Testerman Want To Keep Kelly

The County School Board on Thursday night voted 5-4 to choose a Charlotte, N.C., search firm to pick a new county school superintendent. Coleman Lew and Associates was selected over McPherson & Jacobson of Omaha. That vote came after board members Kathy Lennon and David Testerman started the session by saying they are very pleased with Interim Supt. Kirk Kelly and would ... (click for more)

Judge Finds Young Guilty Of Lesser Charge In Fatal Wreck On Highway 58

Judge Tom Greenholtz on Wednesday found William Henry Young guilty of a lesser charge in a fatal traffic accident on Highway 58. The judge, who heard the case without a jury, ruled the 56-year-old former TVA employee guilty of criminally negligent homicide. He had been charged with vehicular homicide. Sentencing will be in December. Judge Greenholtz dismissed charges ... (click for more)

Accountability Doesn't Have To Be A Bad Word

Am I making a difference? Isn’t that the basic question we all ask ourselves, and seek to demonstrate to others?  Ronald Reagan said:  “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem.”   We would argue teachers do not have that problem either.    Educators make a huge difference ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Guess Who Backed Kelly?

Two weeks before the August election where three members of the Hamilton County School Board were angrily replaced, the organizer of what was called “a great way for the (challengers) to raise great money to help them run smart campaigns” made a bold statement. “I'm sure the current board is well-intentioned, but the results are not there," said Paul Brock. "Leadership matters ... (click for more)