Boys' first-round game
OOLTEWAH VS. RINGGOLD
Ooltewah starters: C.J. Fritz (Jr.), Jarek Boyd (Jr.), Ron King (Sr.), Jaymcal Johnson (Sr.), Ben Snider (Sr.)
Ringgold starters: Zach Dean (Sr.), Jody Roach (Sr.), Kile Sholl (Sr.), Dakota Baer (Sr), Hunter Sosebee (Jr.)
Items of interest: Ooltewah's 5-4 Owls are one of the highest-scoring teams in the field, having already eclipsed 80 points six times. Ringgold will be without starting guard Zach Lovain until mid-January after he suffered a recent injury.
RINGGOLD, Ga. - Ringgold High School is still reveling in the unbridled success of its football team, but one program's success isn't necessarily a boon for another.
The Tigers' run to the Class AAA football semifinals included three key players for Greg Elkins' basketball team -- starters Kile Sholl and Dakota Baer and key reserve J.T. Roach -- and not surprisingly a sluggish start on the hardwood followed.
"I knew we were going to be competitive in football this year, so we pushed the start of our season back a bit," Elkins said. "But getting to the semifinals meant those guys didn't get to practice and had to jump right in. They're still trying to get into basketball shape, and hopefully by the time we get into the meat of our region schedule in January we'll be ready.
"The football season was memorable, and we're counting on that success to follow over into basketball."
The Tigers have limped to a 5-5 start, but its two-sport stars are showing signs of regaining their hoop forms. The low point came two weeks ago when they lost back-to-back games to Catoosa County rivals Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe and Heritage by 24 and 20 points. However, they rebounded with a 16-point win over Ridgeland and followed with a Region 5-AAA win over Gordon Central to right the ship somewhat.
"We are starting to get back to where we should be," junior guard Sholl said. "We only lost one guy from last year, so we should be better when things settle down. I'm hoping, personally, to be perfect after the break."
There's a little work to do before the break, however. The Tigers make their first appearance in the Times Free Press Best of Preps Tournament at Chattanooga State against Ooltewah at 8:30 p.m. Thursday and hope to start 2014 on a positive note.
"We've advanced to the state tournament a couple of times, and it seems every time we do we get blown out because we're not used to the speed and athleticism those teams bring,"Ekins said. "The teams that play in this tournament will be a lot like the teams we would face in the playoffs, so the experience should help us."
Contact Lindsey Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6296.