EVENSVILLE, Tenn. -- Wesley Richey admitted he "messed up" when given his first opportunity to win the District 5-AAA tournament championship game for Ooltewah.
He wasn't about to let it happen again.
Richey, the district player of the year, missed two free throws with 0.3 second remaining in the third overtime but scored eight of the Owls' 13 points in the fourth and final extra frame, and the Owls defeated McMinn County 94-84 in a thriller Tuesday night at Rhea County High School.
The Owls (23-7) will host Coffee County at 7 p.m. Friday in the first round of the Region 3-AAA tournament, while the Cherokees host Warren County.
In the third-place game, Cleveland's Tevin Rutledge hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to defeat Bradley Central 63-62.
There were no double-digit leads in the final until Mikhail Creech hit a free throw with 28.8 seconds to go in the fourth overtime. Only eight players got in for each team, with Ooltewah's Jervon Johnson playing all 48 minutes.
"The only thing we could do was try to keep the guys positive," Ooltewah coach Jesse Nayadley said. "We played sloppy most of the game, I thought, but we hung in there."
Nayadley said that as the overtimes continued, the coaching intensity backed off -- but only slightly.
"You know the guys are going to make mistakes," he said. "We would get ahead and I would keep thinking we would run away with the game, but McMinn never stopped."
Creech had two free throws with 2.0 seconds to go in the third overtime and missed both. McMinn's C.J. Lowry grabbed the rebound and called time out, but the Cherokees were out of timeouts and were whistled for a technical. Richey stepped to the line but had two misses.
"I thought I was going to hit one of them; I was confident," Richey said. "We just had to keep going and pull it out.
"It's my senior year and we haven't won in my four years, so it's a big honor."
The scrappy Cherokees made shot after shot to remain close. Bryan Sherrill hit a 3 over outstretched hands to send the game into the third overtime, and then after they fell behind by four in the third overtime, Dante Arnwine hit a 3 from the top of the key to tie the game at 81.
"We hit some really big 3s that really spurned us on," McMinn coach Keith Elliott said. "We had guys step up on offense and defense."
Johnson added 21 points for Ooltewah, with Antonio Jackson and Andre Moton scoring 12 apiece and Creech chipping in 10. Arnwine had 23 points to lead four players in double figures for McMinn.
"It was just a great effort by both teams," Elliott said. "My guys didn't do everything I wanted, but we've established some things over this tournament that we can feel good about."
In the consolation game, B.J. Davis had 14 points and Jarod Rhodes added 13, but it was Rutledge's 3 as time expired that got the win for the Blue Raiders. Hunter Chastain had 20 points, including a go-ahead basket with 20 seconds to go, to lead Bradley, while Bryce Copeland had 19.
Bradley was 0-for-6 from the foul line in the fourth quarter, missing the front ends of two one-and-ones.
Follow Gene Henley on Twitter by following this link.