Soddy-Daisy rose from the ashes Tuesday night and dealt a severe jolt to Ooltewah’s District 5-AAA title hopes with a 76-70 victory at Soddy-Daisy High School.
The Trojans had won just one of 10 district games, but stung the Owls with a 9-0 fourth-quarter run that opened a 73-65 lead with 43.2 seconds remaining.
The Owls (12-9, 7-3) cut the deficit to three, but Soddy-Daisy made 3 of 6 free throws over the final 19.3 seconds and held on for the stunning upset.
Soddy-Daisy’s James York, who scored a team-high 22 points, didn’t need a lot of words to describe the Trojans’ biggest win this season.
“No doubt,” he said. “This was our best one and we needed a win bad.”
Andy Wright scored 15 points and Tucker Landreth added 14 as the Trojans (10-12, 2-9) climbed out of the league cellar with the win. They slipped ahead of McMinn County (2-19, 1-9), which lost to Cleveland, 81-56.
Cleveland’s easy victory pushed the Blue Raiders (13-5, 8-2) ahead of the Owls into second place behind front-running Bradley Central (13-9, 9-1) in the district standings. The Bears stepped out of league play and lost, 54-52, at Baylor.
Ooltewah’s Ben Snider led all scorers with 28 points that included six 3s, half coming in the final quarter of play. C.J. Fritz had 13 points.
The Owls have two league games left. They go to Cleveland on Friday and entertain Bradley Central on Monday.
“(Soddy-Daisy) got every fifty-fifty ball,” Ooltewah coach Andre Montgomery said. “My guys didn’t play bad, but we didn’t get those fifty-fifty balls and that was a little disappointing. Everyone Soddy-Daisy got they scored on.
“There’s still a lot of stuff out there for us, but we’ve got to go get it. You never know what’s going to happen.”
The two rivals battled hard throughout the game and the lead was going back-and-forth like the ball in a hotly contested ping pong match.
Ooltwah comes back.
The Trojans regroup and retake the lead.
The Owls fight back.
Neither team could run stretch the lead enough to take control.
The Trojans had a 21-15 lead after one quarter – York scored seven points and four other players were already in the scorebook.
The Owls trailed by 36-35 at halftime.
The game was tied 53-53 after three quarters, thanks to Edward Montgomery’s shot from the right wing.
Snider hit a 3 to start the fourth quarter – one of three he made in the final period – to give the Owls their biggest lead of the game at 56-53.
York scored to pull the Trojans within a point.
The Owls’ Dajuonta Ross made two free throws to push the lead back to three at 58-55.
York followed a Marshall Jeffries’ miss with a putback and converted a three-point play after being fouled by Fritz underneath. Jaymcal Johnson dropped in two free throws to tie the game at 60-all with 4:57 left.
Wright scored off an inbound pass and then connected from the right wing, proving the Trojans weren’t going away, and pushed the lead to 64-60.
“We’ve had a few games when the guys were playing not to lose rather than trying to win,” Soddy-Daisy coach Reid Daniels said. “I told them just enjoy the game tonight.”
Ooltewah didn't concede anything either.
Snider hit his second 3 of the quarter and Ron King made a layup and the Owls led 65-64 with 2:42 on the clock.
Then the 50-50 thing cropped up again for Soddy-Daisy.
In a mad scramble in the lane to control the possession after an errant shot, the Trojans’ Christian Amos grabbed the loose ball and in the same motion hit a layup to start Soddy-Daisy’s game-changing 9-0 run.
York made two free throws, extending the lead to 69-65.
York rebounded Snider’s missed 3 and was fouled at the other end, sinking the first free throw, missing the second and pushing the lead to 70-65.
After an Ooltewah turnover, York was off the mark, but again Amos grabbed the rebound and hit a putback with 66 seconds on the clock.
Snider missed again and York was fouled grabbing the loose ball. He made 1 of 2 tosses to cap the eight-point spree and giving the Trojans a 73-65 lead.
“That stretch tested our mettle,” said Daniels, who agreed with York that this was the Trojans’ most impressive win of the season. “The key was rebounding. We got a few in that stretch right there.”
Snider drained another 3 from the left wing and Ross made a layup and Ooltewah trailed by 73-70 and still had a chance.
Soddy-Daisy resisted trying to milk the clock, however, and remained aggressive on the offensive end.
For good reason.
“We tried that late in a few games and weren’t able to do it,” Daniels said. “I didn’t want to put pressure on ourselves to hold the ball against a team that was going to pressure us anyway.”
Wright made 2 of 4 free throws and Amos hit 1 of 2 – all coming in the final 29.3 seconds – and the Trojans held on for the upset.
“We went to the boards hard the whole game and that led to a lot of rebounds,” York said. “Without that we wouldn’t have won.”
The loss snapped the Owls’ three-game winning streak, which came immediately after they lost three in a row. It was Ooltewah’s first game since Jan. 24 due to losing a week’s worth of play due to last week’s snow and ice.
“You never take a loss well, but like I said, I wasn’t that disappointed with my guys, especially after the layoff.”
Soddy-Daisy’s Lady Trojans made it a clean varsity sweep with a 49-45 win over the Lady Owls.
Ooltewah had a 45-42 lead, but failed to score over the final three minutes.
Soddy-Daisy’s Hannah Smith hit a driving layup, Kelsea King scored from the left wing, and Morgan Hopkins, King and Smith each connected once from the free-throw line for the Lady Trojans (6-18, 2-9) over the final 62 seconds to nail down the victory.
Hannah Harris led all scorers with 17 points, 11 coming in the second period to help the Lady Trojans go into halftime with a 28-21 lead.
Hannah Henderson paced the Lady Owls with 16 points and India Corley added 13.
Ooltewah 15 20 18 17 – 70
Soddy-Daisy 21 15 17 23 – 76
Ooltewah (70) – Johnson 9, Boyd 3, King 7, Ben Snider 28, C.J. Fritz 13, Ross 4, Montgomery 6, Freeman.
Soddy-Daisy (76) – Amos 7, Tucker Landreth 14, Carter 6, Andy Wright 15, Jeffries 7, James York 22, Floyd 5
3-Point Goals – Ooltewah 87 (Snider 6, King); Soddy-Daisy 2 (Wright, Floyd).
Ooltewah 10 11 11 13 – 45
Soddy-Daisy 9 19 11 10 – 49
Ooltewah (45) – Cain, Taylor, Cooper 2, A. Jones 6, H. Hall 2, Baker 4, Reed 4, India Corley 11, R. Jones, Hannah Henderson 16.
Soddy-Daisy (49) – Hannah Harris 17, Hopkins 4, Hale 4, Smith 8, King 7, Ward 3, Phillips 3, Hancock 3.
3-Point Goals – Ooltewah none; Soddy-Daisy 2 (Smith, Hale).
(E-mail Larry Fleming at email@example.com)