By Tom Kreager
The Daily News Journal
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Siegel started slowly Monday night.
Ooltewah never did get on track.
Siegel routed the visiting Owls 65-41 in its Class AAA boys' basketball sectional to secure the program's fourth TSSAA state-tournament berth.
"We came out and I called that early timeout," Siegel coach Ben Dotson said. "We were overly excited. We finally got our crowd -- the nation -- back. I just wanted to calm them down and told them, 'Hey, now let's play.'"
The Stars outrebounded the Owls 39-20. That spelled doomed for Ooltewah (21-12), which was 6-of-26 from the 3-point line.
"It wasn't a great showing tonight, but we're a great 3-point shooting team," Ooltewah coach Jesse Nayadley said. "You live and die by that sometimes. Obviously, tonight we died by it. I'm sure some of that is their length, but we had like five or six of those that we normally knock down. If we do that, it's a different game."
Cedrick Williams, a 6-foot-9 junior, led Siegel with 15 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots. Teammate Kerry Hammonds, a 6-6 forward and MTSU signee, added 11 points . Stephen Hurt, a 6-9 post, came off the bench to score 10 points.
"We've been working on our inside game," Williams said. "Things are starting to really come together. We're jelling as a family. We just trust each other right now. We're not just standing around in the paint. We're trying to stay active."
Tyler Whitman led Ooltewah with 12 points. Teammates Wesley Richey and Jervon Johnson had nine apiece.
Siegel turned the ball over its first four possessions, but Williams converted a three-point play to give the Stars an 18-16 lead after the first quarter.
That play sparked a 12-3 run with Hammonds' two free throws giving the Stars a 27-19 lead with 3:04 left in the first half. Reserve Labrock Thomas' half-court shot at the buzzer gave Siegel a 38-26 lead.
Things didn't get any better for Ooltewah. The Owls shot 1-of-10 from the field in the third quarter, allowing Siegel to outscore them 15-4 and put the game away.
"They weren't falling tonight," Nayadley said. "You get down, then you start pressing a little bit. We had been hitting eight or 10 a game.
"When it doesn't fall, this is what happens. But we had to come in tonight and hit probably 10."
Class AAA Sectional
SIEGEL 65, OOLTEWAH 41
Ooltewah 16 10 4 11 -- 41
Siegel 18 20 15 12 -- 65
Ooltewah (41) -- Tyler Whitman 12, Richey 9, Johnson 9, Lloyd 3, Hixson 8.
Siegel (65) -- Butler 4, Ellis 4, Thomas 5, Gooch 9, Smith 2, Cedrick Williams 15, Kerry Hammonds 11, Mitchell 4, Stephen Hurt 10, Tate 1.