“It feels good, they’re a tough bunch, Ooltewah is, and to beat them on their home floor was something that we just kept stressing to our guys — handle pressure, control offensive glass, and we’ll be in good shape, and we did that,” Cleveland coach Jason McCowan said after the win.
The Bradley Central Bears also won their game Tuesday night against Soddy-Daisy, so presently there are three teams with only two district losses, resulting in a three-way tie for first.
Prior to the boys game, the Lady Raiders were able to defeat the Lady Owls 36-21.
The Raiders came on strong from the start of the first period, racking up 19 points. CJ Bryant was responsible for 11 of those points, with help coming from Kendrick Thompson with four points, and a basket from both Dustin Little and Jahmal Johnson. The period ended 19-11 in favor of the Raiders.
Ooltewah and Cleveland appeared evenly matched in the second quarter, as both teams added 16 points to their overall score. Bryant netted two 3-pointers and Thompson got a 3-pointer of his own during the second, while Tucker Bass and Ron King each got a 3-pointer of their own for the home team.
At the end of the first half the Raiders were still ahead of the Owls 35-27.
Cleveland had to work hard to keep its lead over Ooltewah in the third period, as the Owl offense wasn’t ready to be put to bed just yet.
The home team was once again able to match Cleveland, with 19 points for each team in the third period, but the Owls still trailed by eight. Bryant hit three 3-pointers and Thompson hit one, while Snider made two 3-pointers for Ooltewah, followed by Presley and Bass each with one.
The Owls just weren’t able to ever gain the upper hand on the scoreboard, and despite their best efforts, were defeated by the Raiders 68-60.
The Raiders put forth a huge effort to secure themselves another district win, and according to McCowan, his team leaders really shined during Tuesday’s game.
“Dustin Little and Jahmal Johnson I thought did a great job, and then CJ and Kendrick just do so much for us hanging on to the ball and being able to score. I’m just really proud of how mature that they are becoming and being able to lead our basketball team.”
Bryant, a senior, was able to top his season-best 32 game points and scored 33 points during the Raider victory. He was able to hit six 3-pointers during the game.
“It feels good, my team came out and played a big part of it. They got me the ball, they got me open so they helped me out a lot tonight,” Bryant said of his big night.
Thompson and Johnson also played a huge role on the scoreboard, with a total of 17 and 12 points respectively.
According to McCowan, the Raiders will now have to play their two remaining district games with the proverbial target on their backs as they venture to Walker Valley on Friday.
Even though the team has reason to celebrate, Bryant realizes that there are still many challenges ahead of them.
“We can’t get big-headed. We have to keep our composure, finish out strong and then hopefully we’ll come out on top.”
LADY RAIDERS 36,
LADY OWLS 21
The Lady Raiders set the stage for a Cleveland sweep with their win over the Lady Owls Tuesday night.
The win was a tough one for the visitors, as it took them until the second half to get into their groove.
“They (Ooltewah) came out playing the zone; we expected that to happen. We didn’t get a whole lot of outside looks tonight. We were trying to get to the rim and it took us a little while to find our rhythm and find out where we needed to be and where the open looks were,” Cleveland coach Mindy Kiser said of her team’s slow start.
The first period ended on a slow note, with each team only able to notch six points a piece.
The Lady Owls took the lead in the second period, outscoring the Lady Raiders by two points to end the first half up 15-13.
Despite ending the third period trailing Ooltewah 21-18, Kiser felt that her team’s defense really started to come together in the second half.
“Defensively I thought we were a little on our heels to start the game, but as the first quarter went on and especially in the second, we found our defensive groove and we were able to get some hands on the basketball and get some good stuff going.”
This was evident in the fourth period as the Lady Raiders defense would hold back the Lady Owls, allowing them no points. Ooltewah’s only scoring chance came from two free throws by Katyln Kennedy, who missed both.
Cleveland, on the other hand, was able to rack up 18 more points by the end of the game.
“We went to the hole strong. I thought Bre Ware did a really good job, she picked up two quick ones early but was able to come back and stay out of foul trouble and do some really good things on the offensive end,” Kiser said. “Hallea (McClendon) battled inside most of the night, Atarah (Abdullah-Muhammad) played a fantastic game. Kids off the bench did a good job; didn’t always get the looks that we wanted, but we got enough.”
A. Abdullah-Muhammad led Cleveland with 11 points, followed by Ware with 10.
The Lady Raiders will take on the Lady Mustangs at “The Stable” Friday night, and Kiser hopes her team will find its rhythm a little earlier that night.
“I hope we find that rhythm early, we were successful last time on the boards and really outrebounded them last time. Hopefully we’ll have that same hunger this time.”
LADY RAIDERS 36, LADY OWLS21
Cleveland 6 7 5 18 — 36
Ooltewah 6 9 6 0 — 21
Cleveland (36) — Atarah Abdullah-Muhammad 11, Bre Ware 10, Scoggins 6, McClendon 5, Berry 4, Geren, Whittemore, Fugete, Crump, Walkup, Saliba.
Ooltewah (21) — Barrett 8, Cross 8, Baker 3, Hall 2, Cain, Taylor, Cooper, Jones, Kennedy, Dudas, Hall, Jones, Young, Featherstone.
3-point goals: Cleveland 0; Ooltewah 1 (Baker).
Records: Cleveland 15-6, 6-3 District 5-AAA; Ooltewah 3-17, 1-9.
BLUE RAIDERS 68, OWLS 60
Cleveland 19 16 19 14 — 68
Ooltewah 11 16 19 14 — 60
Cleveland (68) — CJ Bryant 33, Kendrick Thompson 17, Jahmal Johnson 12, Little 4, Jones 2, Ware, Dykes, Beaty, Scott, Brown, Constant, McCree.
Ooltewah (60) — Ben Snider 16, Antonio Jackson 13, Robinson 8, Bass 6, Presley 5, Maston 5, Ware 4, King 3, Turner, Frite, Boyd, Carr, Cothran, Wooden, Hasanbegovic.
3-point goals: Cleveland 8 (Bryant 6, Thompson 2); Ooltewah 7 (Bass 2, Robinson, Snider, Presley, Maston, King).
Records: Cleveland 14-8, 8-2 District 5-AAA; Ooltewah 14-6, 8-2.