published Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Jervon Johnson paces Ooltewah's sectional victory

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    Ooltewah's Antonio Jackson heads for the goal with LaVergne's Chucky Sutton in pursuit Monday at Ooltewah High School.
    Photo by Angela Lewis.
    enlarge photo

OOLTEWAH 69, LAVERGNE 55

LaVergne 10 9 19 17 -- 55

Ooltewah 13 19 27 10 -- 69

LaVergne (55) -- Sparks 4, Cowart 4, Horner 2, Reyes 6, Sutton 9, A.J. Mason 14, Reese 2, Caymen Dial 13, Hart 1, Steele.

Ooltewah (69) -- Antonio Jackson 12, Creech 4, Hasenbegovic, Robinson 4, Moton 9, Arnold, Snider 9, Jervon Johnson 31, Ware, Stone, Bass, Presley.

3-point goals: LaVergne 5 (Mason 4, Dial); Ooltewah 5 (Johnson 5). Other highlights: Dial 4 s, 2 b (L); Jackson 6 r, 5 a, 3 s; Mikhail Creech 4 b; Andre Moton 5 r, 6 a; Johnson 9 r (O). Records: Ooltewah 27-4; LaVergne 19-14.

Jervon Johnson not scoring well recently may have led to some of the open looks he received Monday in Ooltewah's Class AAA sectional boys' basketball game against LaVergne.

When he got those chances, he made the most of them, and the Owls won 69-55.

Johnson had 31 points and nine rebounds, and an 11-0 third-quarter Ooltewah run blew the game wide open. Next week's state-tournament appearance will be the program's first since a Class AA berth in 1980.

Point guard Antonio Jackson added 12 points, six rebounds and five assists for Ooltewah (27-4).

Johnson had 15 points in the pivotal third quarter.

"I really didn't expect them to leave me open so much," he said. "I thought they might box me, but we never saw it.

"We're excited about the opportunity to go to state. It was our goal. If we had lost we were gone, so we had to come out hard."

The Wolverines (19-14) attempted to run with the Owls, and the tide changed as the hosts got some stops and converted them into scoring opportunities. The Ooltewah lead grew from two at the end of the first quarter to 32-19 at halftime. It swelled to 26 in the third quarter and peaked at 27 in the fourth.

"We just didn't play our style of ball," LaVergne coach Chris Carpenter said. "We're a much better team than we were tonight. Ooltewah is the type of team that likes to get out and go. We can do that, but not for four quarters.

"They were too fast for us. We're thankful for the opportunity to get here, but we could have played better than we did tonight."

Ooltewah's Mikhail Creech blocked four shots, while Andre Moton had nine points, five rebounds, six assists and two steals. Ben Snider also scored nine points.

"We came into the year hoping it would come to this," Ooltewah coach Jesse Nayadley said. "It's been a tough, grinding season, and we hit a lull, but we were hungry tonight. We wanted to push the tempo and stay in the full-court pressure, but once we got the lead we dropped back into our zone.

"They thought they could run with us, and we were able to run away with the game."

A.J. Mason hit four 3s and finished with 14 points for the Wolverines, while Caymen Dial added 13.

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.

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