Rail Runners Edge St. Louis, 135-124

Win Regular Season Title

Saturday, May 10, 2014 - by B.B. Branton

The Chattanooga Rail Runners put eight players in double figures, including Jonathan Adams (Baylor School) with a team-high 24 to defeat the St Louis Hawks, 135-124, Saturday at the Rossville Athletic Center in a Central Basketball Association game.

The Rail Runners win the CBA regular season at 8-2 and host a semifinals game next Sat. May 17 at 7 p.m. The opponent will be determined after all league games are completed Sunday.

The Hawks (4-5) play at Middle Tenn. (Fisk Univ.) Sunday and are in the hunt for one of the final three playoff spots.

The Hawks were led by Lonnell Johnson with a game-high 35 points, followed by Alex Jackson with 27.

In a fast-paced opening quarter, there were 10 lead changes with the Rail Runners gaining the lead for good at 34-32.

First Quarter Both teams had the hot shooting hand early as Chattanooga's Jonathan Adams hit three, 3-pointers in the first five minutes, while the Hawks' Lonnell Johnson and Craig Coenen combined for 13 points in the same time period.

The Hawks led by as many five (26-21), but the Rail Runners went on a 15-8 run to close out the quarter leading by two, 36-34.

Second Quarter: Led by Dontay Hampton (7 pts) and Michael Robertson (6 pts), Chattanooga led by as many as 15 at 64-49 on a basket by Fred Sturdivant (Brainerd HS) at 2:10 before intermission.

The Hawks had cut the Rail Runners lead to seven  (66-59) ona 3-pointer by Coenen, but former UTC player Hampton hit a three from beyond the top of key at the buzzer for the 10-point lead heading to the locker room.

Third Quarter: Alex Dean led the Rail Runners with eight points, while Robertson added six. Corey Hill led the Hawks with nine. Chattanooga led by 20 at 2:40 on a lay up by Dean.

Fourth Quarter: The Hawks pulled within seven at 127-120 on a basket by Hill, but he then missed a pair of free throws at 2:56.

Chattanooga took advantage of the Hawks missed opportunity as Adams hit a trey and Harper had a big slam to push the lead to 132-121 and sealed the win.

"We played well tonight after a good week of practice," said Rail Runners coach Rodney Engiish.

"After leading by 10 points at half, we came out strong early in the third, pushed the lead to 20 and had an 18 point lead heading into the fourth.

Coach English said tonight is the first game where the Rail Runners won the third quarter (41-33).

"We have come up with two groups of players who fit well together on the court which is important and is helpful heading into the playoffs." coach English stated. 

Chattanooga 135, St. Louis 124

St. Louis 34 - 35 - 33 -  32 -- 124

Chatt 36 - 33 - 41 - 25 -- 135

contact B.B. Branton at william.branton@comcast.net



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