While the optimum goal was not reached for either school, both the Ooltewah boys and Heritage girls believe they will be better off having competed in the Best of Preps basketball tournament the past three days.
The Owls and Lady Generals overcame the disappointment of losing in Friday's semifinal round to claim third place Saturday, Ooltewah defeating Notre Dame 85-54 and Heritage downing Brainerd 56-41. Both winning teams benefited from lights-out perimeter shooting and strong defense.
The Owls (8-4) hit 13 3-pointers to offset a quick start from the Irish (3-10). Ron King had five bombs in getting a team-high 21 points, with C.J. Fritz and Ben Snider adding 17 and 16 points and five additional 3s. Ooltewah used a relentless fast break in the third period to pull away from what was a 50-35 halftime lead.
"The defensive effort was there tonight," Ooltewah coach Tank Williams said. "We played hard last night, but we didn't play smart. They were let down by not being in the championship game, but I was proud of the effort tonight despite that. We hope we learned something from this tournament."
Heritage (11-3) played perhaps its best half of the season in pulling out to a 35-11 lead over Brainerd and cruised from there. Guard Jada Hubbard led the way with 20 points and hurt the Lady Panthers with five 3-pointers. Jamee Ward topped Brainerd (7-5) with 13 points.
"We played almost a perfect first half," Heritage coach Eddie Bryant said. "The shots were going in and we took care of the basketball against some really good guards from Brainerd. The girls were frustrated in not playing in the championship game tonight, but third place is not bad and hopefully it will springboard us into a successful region schedule beginning next week."
* Baylor 50, McCallie 48: The Red Raiders (8-3) claimed fifth place after holding off a strong late McCallie rally. Baylor appeared to have the game in hand after Matt Clendenen's three-point play pushed the lead to 46-35 with 2:01 to play, but a JaVaughn Craig 3-pointer ignited a 9-2 run over the next minute to close the gap.
Following a technical foul on the Baylor bench, Craig made the two free throws and C.J. Fritz followed with a runner in the lane to make it a one-point game with 18 seconds to play. Baylor hit one of two free throws before McCallie's Winston Whitener came up short on a jumper at the buzzer.
Clendenen topped Baylor with 21 points, while Craig led McCallie (5-6) with 17 and Fritz added 16.
* Ringgold 67, Grace Academy 44: The Tigers used a 22-7 second-quarter advantage, led by Jordan Ransom's eight points, to build a 32-19 halftime lead, then sealed the victory with 17-of-19 free-throw shooting in the final period.
Ransom topped the Tigers (6-7) with 17 points with Dean adding 11, while Will Slack topped Grace with nine.
* Signal Mountain girls 51, East Hamilton 41: Aryn Sanders continued her hot shooting with a tournament-high 32 points, including 13 in the final period when the Lady Eagles broke open a tie game to claim fifth place. Lexi Zackery led East Hamilton with 13 points, including 10 in the first half when the Lady Hurricanes led 29-25.
* Lookout Valley girls 28, Tyner 25: Annie Marr led the Lady Yellow Jackets with nine points in the seventh-place game, with Jai'Mesia Parks topping Tyner with seven.
Contact Lindsey Young at email@example.com or at 423-757-6296.