Ooltewah pulled away from Soddy-Daisy with a strong third quarter sparked by senior Ty Presley on Friday night, eventually posted a crucial 75-62 District 5-AAA victory and set up a showdown at Bradley Central on Feb. 8 in the Owls’ regular-season finale.
Presley, one of seven seniors playing their last regular-season home game in Ed Foster Gymnasium, scored 12 points on four 3-pointers in the decisive third quarter that allowed the Owls (15-7, 9-2) to remain in the battle for a top seed in the district tournament to be held at Cleveland.
Presley finished with a team-high 15 points.
“We did what we needed,” said Owls coach Jesse Nayadley. “We needed to improve.”
The top three teams – Ooltewah, Bradley (8-2) and Cleveland (9-2) – have opportunities to finish 10-2 in district play.
Bradley plays at Walker Valley on Tuesday and then hosts the Owls on Friday. The Bears whipped Walker Valley, 73-61, on Jan. 11
Ooltewah, of course, has the one league game against the Bears remaining on its schedule. The Owls beat the Bears, 57-51, on Dec. 11.
Cleveland closes its regular-season district schedule by hosting Rhea County on Tuesday. The Blue Raiders defeated the Golden Eagles, 56-49, on Jan. 11.
“The tournament is going to be wide open,” Nayadley said in an e-mail report of Friday’s game.
With Presley leading the way, Ooltewah’s seniors combined for 55 of the team’s 75 points against the Trojans, who fell to the Owls, 66-50, at Soddy-Daisy on Jan. 8.
Antonio Jackson had 14 points and six assists, Jacqueze Robinson scored 13 points, Andrew Ware had seven points and 10 rebounds, Kameron Carr added two points and Tucker Bass four. Damir Hasanbegovic went scoreless.
Junior Ben Snider scored 10 points for the Owls.
Soddy-Daisy placed three players in double figures – Andy Wright 17 points, James York 16 and Tucker Landreth 15.
The Trojans built a 33-29 halftime lead, but the Owls stormed back with a 26-12 advantage in the third quarter and had a 20-17 edge in the final eight-minute period.
Soddy-Daisy 14 19 12 17 – 62
Ooltewah 14 19 12 17 – 75
Soddy-Daisy (62) – Tucker Landreth 15, Andy Wright 17, James York 16, Christian Amos 6, Carter, Kearny, Floyd 4, Shaughnessy.
Ooltewah (75) – Antonio Jackson 14, Jacqueze Robinson 13, Ty Presley 15, Ware 7, Turner 3, Maston 2, Carr 2, Bass 4, King 5, Hasanbegovic, Fritz, Boyd.
(E-mail Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org)