Ooltewah Digs Out Of Deep Hole, Rallies To Beat White County In 3-AAA

Owls Cap Impressive District 5 Sweep Of District 6 Opponents

Saturday, February 23, 2013 - by Larry Fleming

SPARTA, Tenn. – Ooltewah took White County’s best punch to the gut, caught its breath and decided to fight back.

Jacqueze Robinson and Ben Snider combined for 41 points, Ooltewah overcame a 16-point deficit in the first half and defeated White County, 76-67, Saturday night in the Region 3-AAA tournament quarterfinals in Roy Sewell Gymnasium.

“We put White County out (of the region) two of the last three years and we told our kids all week they would come out hungry,” Owls coach Jesse Nayadley said. “They hit us in the mouth, but we responded.”

Robinson scored a team-high 24 points and Snider, returning from a one-game suspension, had 17 points and 10 rebounds as Ooltewah (18-9) completed District 5-AAA’s sweep of District 6-AAA squads on the day.

Bradley Central beat Cookeville, 66-56, Cleveland knocked off Cumberland County, 54-49, and Walker Valley whipped Warren County, 62-46.

Saturday’s strong showing produced an all-District 5-AAA semifinal round on Tuesday at Cleveland High School.

Ooltewah gets another shot at Walker Valley, which stunned the top-seeded Owls, 62-59, on Caio Hysinger’s half-court buzzer-beater in the District 5-AAA semifinals, at 6 p.m. Bradley Central plays Cleveland at 7:30 p.m.

Daaron Maston scored 13 points and Antonio Jackson added 11 for Ooltewah. Andrew Ware scored nine points and grabbed 12 rebounds.

Dalton Nash led White County with 16 points while Cade Crosland had 13 and Kane Young 11.

Knowing Ooltewah had ended their 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons with region tournament victories, the Warriors (19-12) came out strong and served notice that a third postseason win in four years wouldn’t come easy for the Owls.

The Warriors, coached by Eric Mitchell, Nayadley’s teammate for four years at Tennessee Tech University, outscored the Owls, 10-3, over the final 3:51 and ended the first quarter with a 20-11 lead.

An 11-4 spurt to open the second quarter produced a 31-15 advantage and the Warriors had Ooltewah reeling and on the ropes.

“You’re down 16 points and sure, you’re worried,” Nayadley said. “But, I knew if we did what we’re supposed to we could climb back in the game.”

What was the remedy?

“They were outhustling us,” Nayadley said. “Our guys needed to guard their man and be tough. White County was tougher than us in the first 10 minutes. We answered that and now we’re moving on.”

The Owls turned up the thermostat defensively in the final four minutes of the second quarter and that’s almost always a source of fuel for the team’s offense. Ooltewah went on a 12-2 run – Robinson and Maston each scored five points – and closed the deficit to 36-32 at halftime.

Robinson had 12 points at the break.

“He kept us in the first half, no doubt about it,” Nayadley said. “He hit some big shots.”

Right in the middle of that Ooltewah streak, White County’s Allen Newport was flagged for an intentional foul on Maston and within seconds Mitchell was hit with a technical foul.

“The biggest play of the game,” Mitchell said, “was that uncalled for technical foul. I hadn’t had one in 10 years. That was a five-point swing.”

Maston hit 2-of-4 free throws and on the ensuing possession Robinson drilled a 3 from the right wing to pull the Owls within 35-30. Ron King’s drive to the basket cut the Warriors’ lead to 35-32. Newport’s free throw with 15.2 seconds on the clock was White County’s only point in the final 2:30 of the period.

“When we got down by 16 points, we just had to keep playing,” said Robinson, who hit three of Ooltewah’s six 3s – Maston had the other three. “At first we were slacking, but we picked up our intensity in the second half.”

The Owls unleashed another 12-2 run in the third quarter. Snider’s two free throws tied the game at 43 and Robinson’s 3 from the right wing on an assist by Jackson put them ahead, 46-43, their first lead since 4-2.

Two more Snider free throws gave the Owls a 51-47 lead and two more freebies 25 seconds into the fourth quarter enabled Ooltewah to keep at four-point advantage at 54-51.

That started a strong fourth period for Snider, who was relieved that he was able contribute to the big win.

“It killed me sitting out the last game (a 75-69 consolation victory over Cleveland in the district tournament),” Snider said. “I knew at some point in this game my teammates would need me and I didn’t want to let them down.”

Snider was asked how hard he had to work since Wednesday to get back in good graces with Nayadley.

“Shoot, I’m still not in his good graces,” he said. “It’s a day-to-day thing, but I’m on the right track.”

Nash’s driving layup – the Warriors hurt the visitors all night with cutting plays to the hoop – sliced Ooltewah’s lead to 56-53, Ware hit a free throw, Young made a driving layup over Snider and then Snider canned back-to-back buckets to give the Owls their biggest lead of the game to that point at 61-55.

“When we went to that high-low we got Ben some looks in the second half,” Nayadley said. “One thing we’ve been stressing in practice is toughness and that helps you with rebounding a lot. Daaron got tied up once and he pushed a kid, but he’s in there battling. Ben and Andrew just ripped them (rebounds) out of there.”

Just over a minute after Snider’s quick-strike scores, Robinson made three free throws after being fouled by White County’s Kordell Henderson. Young hit a right-wing 3, Ware tipped in a Jackson miss, the Warriors’ Zack Stephenson made a free throw and the Owls’ lead was 66-60.

Over the final 1:52, Ooltewah made 7-of-10 free throws to seal the win.

For the game, Ooltewah was 28-of-37 from the charity stripe, much better than the Owls usually shoot from the line.

“The scouting report on (Ooltewah) is they don’t hit free throws,” Mitchell said. “In their previous game they were 15-of-31 and we weren’t going to give up layups because we wanted to send them to the line. As it turned out, their free-throw shooting was the difference in the game.”

Robinson was 11-of-12 from the line. Snider went 7-for-7.

White County made 12 of its 17 free-throw attempts.

“I’m really glad we played here tonight,” Nayadley said. “They made it hard on us and that’s what we need right now if we’re going to win tough games and move on.”

SUMMARY

Ooltewah                            22 21 19 25 – 76

White County                    20 16 11 18 – 67

Ooltewah (76) – Antonio Jackson 11, Jacqueze Robinson 24, Andrew Ware 9, Ben Snider 21, Daaron Maston 13, Ron King 2.

White County (67) – Cade Crosland 13, Stephenson 3, Davidson 3, Wilkerson 6, Kane Young 12, Henderson 7, Dalton Nash 16, Newport 7, Fresh, Robbins.

3-Point Goals: Ooltewah 6 (Robinson 3, Maston 3); White County 7 (Crosland 2, Wilkerson 2, Young 2, Henderson).

Region 3-AAA Tournament Schedule

Monday

Girls

McMinn County (20-8) vs. Bradley Central, 6 p.m.

Cookeville (22-10) vs. White County (20-11), 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday

Boys

Walker Valley (19-11) vs. Ooltewah (18-9), 6 p.m.

Cleveland (19-11) vs. Bradley Central (17-12, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday

Girls championship, 7 p.m.

Thursday

Boys championship, 7 p.m.

(E-mail Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com)

 

 

 



Signal Mountain DYB in State Finals

Winners of five straight games in the consolation bracket, the Signal Mountain American (10 year olds) is two wins from a trip to the Dixie Youth Baseball World Series. Today, Signal Mountain (5-1) has to defeat host Springfield (5-0) twice to win the state championship. Monday, SM defeated Lewis County, 6-5, as Braeden Wolfard's double drove in Cooper ... (click for more)

UTC Men's Track Team Posts Nations Top GPA, Women Ranked 10th

NEW ORLEANS, La. --- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men’s track and field team posted the nation’s top GPA while the women ranked 10th overall according to the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Sophomore Teghan Henderson (Pickering, Ontario) was named to the All-Academic Team.   The men, led by seniors Lucas Cotter ... (click for more)

DA Looking Into Issue Of County Commission Candidate's Campaign Sending Filled-Out Request For Absentee Ballot To Elderly Voters

The District Attorney's Office has been provided with documents that a County Commission candidate's campaign sent filled-out requests for absentee ballots to elderly voters. Kerry Steelman, election administrator, said there have been four instances in which such requests came from the Elect John Brooks campaign. He said state law says in Section 2-6-202:  (3) A person ... (click for more)

Graham Says County School-City Lawsuit Settlement "Stinks," But County Commission Approves It

The County Commission on Wednesday approved a settlement of a lawsuit brought by the Hamilton County Schools against the city of Chattanooga, though several commissioners said they were not happy with the deal and Commissioner Joe Graham said it "stinks." Commissioner Graham was the lone no vote. He was joined by Commissioner Tim Boyd in a failed effort to defer it a week. ... (click for more)

The Truth From Weston’s Sister - And Response (2)

I try not to read the negative articles and opinions about my older brother. Growing up around politics, I learned a long time ago that thick skin is not only necessary, it’s paramount. But this time, the lies and the rumors and the inaccurate information has gone too far. It’s too ridiculous for me to ignore. So let’s clear a few things up: Weston and I do not “come ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Oscar Brock’s True Passion

I don’t pay much attention to the Hamilton County School Board. Once the moon and the stars aligned behind Superintendent Rick Smith, you hear very little, if anything, from the nine-member council that oversees an annual budget of almost $400 million and employs 4,480 people. So chew this for a minute: approximately 2,000 of those people are not teachers. Yes, there are 78 principals ... (click for more)