Tyree Smith took East Ridge’s opening tipoff and made a sprint to the basket. Nobody on Ooltewah’s team could stop his one-handed hammer to initiate the contest. A thrilled contingent of home fans (and a subsection of less-happy visitors) got a sneak peek into what would be a wild, thrilling, competitive, up-and-down 90-82 overtime points bonanza of an East Ridge win.
“Tyree is one tough kid,” coach Tre High said.
“If you know his story, he’s a flat-out tough kid. He’s going to give it to you. If he can get to the basket and not settle for jump shots, he’s going to be in great shape.”
Smith put in 11 points in the first quarter, as it seemed he was the only Pioneer capable of generating offense against Ooltewah’s chaotic trap. Even after the game opened up later on, Smith was still a constant presence in the air (and on the ground) as he took the ball hard to the cup for physical layups and hard fouls.
High-octane Owl Deleon Petty benefited from steals and active hands to find opportunities in the open court. When the Owls were forced to play against East Ridge’s zone defense, they patiently moved the ball around the floor.
The ball usually found bigman Chris Styles, who utilized empty pockets of space to carve out opportunities for layups. But right when Ooltewah seemed to be gaining a daunting lead, East Ridge found their groove. After the Pioneers closed out the quarter on a 6-0 run, the Owls and the home team engaged in a back-and-forth 28 minutes of nonstop action.
Aside from Petty and Styles, sharpshooting Keyshawn Corbin provided crucial spacing with his three-point shooting. But it was actually an underhand scoop layup on the baseline after a Smith dunk that sent the Owls into the halftime break with a 35-34 lead.
If the first half was dominated by Smith, East Ridge’s second half was defined by Cadion Harris and Devon Anderson. Harris was masterful as a passer and always seemed to make the correct read on interior passes. Freshman forward Hasani Jackson converted several of these dimes for bigtime layups.
“In the locker room, coach was like ‘man, look, you got to settle down,’” Harris said. “He said to take a breath and come back out and take the dub.”
Devon Anderson lived in the midrange and for good reason. If the offense for whatever reason stalled out, he was comfortable taking a few dribbles toward the basket before contorting his body and creating space for a soft 12-footer that always seemed to go in.
“Devon Anderson was killing the midrange,” coach Tre High said. “Every summer we’re in here shooting that shot. He can play some college ball if he can hit that shot consistently.”
After Smith nailed a 30-foot buzzer beater to end the third quarter with a three point lead, the Pioneers and Owls went to battle for the last quarter. Every Raymos McGee rebound and layup made the crowd groan, and each Anderson middy or a Smith and-one re-animated the crowd. With one minute left, Corbin splashed a triple to give his team a three point lead. Then Smith countered with a hanging bank shot in the lane.
Following two ice-cold Jordan Kitchen free throws to give Ooltewah a slim two-point lead, East Ridge needed to make a play with thirty seconds left………..and after Smith dished to a sure-handed Jackson under the rim for a layup in traffic, the game was tied. After neither team could score in the next half-minute, the game was headed to overtime.
A Harris three and four seven points by Smith punctuated a one-sided overtime period. Although the Owls continued to scrap until the end, they just could not hit the shots they needed to extend the game another four minutes. And so after 40 exhausting minutes, East Ridge walked away with a well-deserved 90-82 win.
“We had momentum, and we had people on our bench cheering us on and we had the home crowd behind us,” Harris said.
OOLTEWAH 15 11 18 12 – 56
EAST RIDGE 02 06 05 02 – 15
OOLTEWAH (56) – Brown 2, Tharp 5, Torrence 2, Faith O’Donnell 15, Jordan McCullough 16, Mooney 2, Morkert, Harris 2, MacKenzie Bernier 12, Dunbar
EAST RIDGE (15) – Diamond Burnham 6, Nia Barnes 4, DyHasia Hickman 3, Teresita Gomez 2, Wade, Bassett,
3-POINT GOALS: Ooltewah 4 (D’Donnell 2, Tharp 1, McCullough 1); East Ridge 0 (N/A).
OOLTEWAH 18 17 21 22 04 – 82
EAST RIDGE 17 17 25 19 12 – 90
OOLTEWAH (82) – Keyshawn Corbin 12, Deleon Petty 25, Laster 5, Raymos McGee 12, Kitchen 5, Prichard 7, Chris Styles 16
EAST RIDGE (90) – Martin 2, Hasani Jackson 15, Tyree Smith 31, Cadion Harris 11, Devon Anderson 18, Darius Hamilton 11
3-POINT GOALS: Ooltewah 6 (Corbin 3, Petty 1, Kitchen 1, Prichard 1); East Ridge 4 (Smith 2, Harris 1, Hamilton 1).
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