published Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Owls face Bradley for title

Region 3-AAA semifinals

At Cumberland County High School

BRADLEY CENTRAL 80, McMINN COUNTY 50

McMinn County 7 15 8 20 -- 50

Bradley Central 18 17 23 22 -- 80

McMinn County (50) -- Versa, Simbeck 2, McCroskey, B. Davis 8, Nevins 9, Marshall 6, Hicks 4, A. Davis, Hayes 8, Ty Jones 13.

Bradley Central (80) -- Thompson, Bentley 2, Justin Houston 10, Bryce Copeland 18, Johnson 1, Miles Christian 13, Cox 6, Hunter Chastain 11, Contreras 2, Morgan 9, Whitmire 8, Cain.

3-point goals: McMinn 5 (Marshall 2, Hayes 2, Hicks); Bradley 10 (Copeland 4, Christian 3, Houston 2, Cox). Records: Bradley 28-5; McMinn 18-13.


OOLTEWAH 70, COOKEVILLE 48

Ooltewah 11 15 33 11 -- 70

Cookeville 10 17 9 12 -- 48

Ooltewah (70) -- Jackson 9, Creech 3, Hasenbegovic, Robinson 6, Andre Moton 17, Arnold, Ben Snider 18, Jervon Johnson 12, Ware 2, Stone, Bass 3, Warren.

Cookeville (48) -- Campbell, Paisley 2, Talkington, Trey Henderson 17, Mabee, Ledbetter 5, Mat Case 12, Tereheggen, Phillip Roper 12.

3-point goals: Ooltewah 8 (Snider 3, Johnson 2, Jackson, Moton, Bass); Cookeville none. Records: Ooltewah 25-5; Cookeville 25-6.

CROSSVILLE, Tenn. — A lot of basketball teams in the Chattanooga area knew about Ooltewah's quick-strike offensive ability. Cookeville is another victim now.

The Owls scored 30 points in the final six minutes of the third quarter of their Region 3-AAA semifinal against the Cavaliers, turning what had been a close game into a 70-48 rout. Bradley Central blasted McMinn County 80-50 and will face Ooltewah on Thursday at Cumberland County at 8 p.m. EST.

Both Tuesday winners qualify for the sectional round Monday, with Thursday's winner hosting the loser of the 4-AAA final between Blackman and Lavergne and the loser visiting the Region 4 champion.

Coach Jesse Nayadley put Ooltewah in full-court pressure to begin with, trying to get what he had considered a lethargic team recently into a rhythm. The Cavaliers led 27-26 at halftime, but after a putback by Lucas Ledbetter gave them a 31-29 advantage, the Owls took flight, forcing seven turnovers and getting out in transition for baskets.

Even when forced into the half court, Ooltewah had Ben Snider lurking in the corner, and he had 13 points during the critical stretch.

"In the first half, it's like we were giving them points," Nayadley said. "We wanted to come out in the full-court pressure and get their engines going, because we just hadn't been playing Ooltewah basketball lately. We started to play fast and hard, and once we did we were able to scale back in the second half to a half-court defense and then we started scoring.

"We just started flying in the second half. It's a good time to get our style of ball back."

Snider led the Owls (25-5) with 18 points, while Andre Moton added 17 and Jervon Johnson scored 12.

Trey Henderson led Cookeville (28-6) with 17 points, while Phillip Roper and Mat Case added 12 each.

Bradley (28-5) jumped to a quick double-digit advantage by forcing 11 turnovers in the first eight minutes. A Bryce Copeland layup made it 18-7 with a minute to go in the first quarter.

The Bears finished with 26 assists and had four double-figure scorers, led by Copeland with 18 points. Miles Christian had 13, while Hunter Chastain added 11 and Justin Houston tallied 10.

Ty Jones was the only Cherokee in double figures, with 13.

"I thought we set the tone early," Bears coach Kent Smith said. "We didn't want to let them breathe. The guys were locked in and we found the extra man, getting the right people into the right spots for wide-open 3s, and I'll take Bryce and Miles wide open any day because they'll knock those shots down.

"There was no way we were going to lose tonight."

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