published Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Daaron Mastson leads Ooltewah Owls to final


Ooltewah 17 16 20 16 -- 69

Walker Valley 12 14 19 12 -- 57

Ooltewah (69) -- Antonio Jackson 16, Jacqueeze Robinson 13, Ware 8, Snider 7, Daaron Maston 22, King 3, Presley.

Walker Valley (57) -- Anthony, Godfrey 9, Harwood 6, Caio Hysinger 11, Melton 2, Lukas Corn 19, Morrow, Swafford 2, Brownfield 8.

3-point goals: Ooltewah 8 (Maston 4, King, Snider, Robinson, Jackson); Walker Valley 4 (Hysinger 3, Godfrey). Records: Ooltewah 20-9; Walker Valley 19-12.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — After having to take the scenic route to get there, Ooltewah has returned to defend its Region 3-AAA boys' basketball tournament title.

Sophomore Daaron Mastson, finally healed from a nagging thigh bruise, led Ooltewah past Walker Valley 69-57 with a game-high 22 points Tuesday night. He hit all four of his 3-point attempts, all in the second half.

The win avenged last week's loss to Walker Valley in the district tournament, a loss that came on Caio Hysinger's 3-point prayer at the buzzer and forced Ooltewah to travel nearly two hours to White County for the first round of the region tournament. After surviving that game, Ooltewah looked sharp from start to finish Tuesday night and earned the right to try to defend its region title against Bradley Central in a rematch of last year's region final.

"Daaron started the year hitting everything he shot, and we knew he could be special," Owls coach Jesse Nayadley said. "But then he got that thigh bruise that slowed him down for about 8-10 games, and he was really frustrated for a while. He's just now looking like the same kid we saw to start the year, and that's exciting for us."

Walker Valley got within three midway through the third quarter and fought back to within four early in the fourth, but both times Maston answered with 3-pointers to help the Owls extend the lead. His final trey of the night started an 11-0 run midway through the fourth that put the game away.

about Stephen Hargis...

Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...

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