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Blue Raiders seal No. 1 seed


A group of talented and unselfish guards led an offensive showcase for one of Class AAA’s top teams, which accomplished one of its major goals Friday night.

Sharing the wealth, fifth-ranked Cleveland blasted for a season-high point total in an 87-46 victory on the road against Ooltewah to secure the regular season District 5-AAA championship as well as an automatic region berth.

“This group doesn’t care who gets the credit,” CHS head coach Jason McCowan said after his team’s third 40-plus point victory over a league opponent this season. “Our seniors really have set a team-first mentality. It affords us a luxury of being able to attack in a lot of different ways. I’m proud of what all we have accomplished, but there’s still a long road ahead.”

Bouncing back from a sluggish offensive performance against Bradley Central on Tuesday night, the Blue Raiders connected on 11-of-20 from 3-point land, had five scorers in double figures and 24 team assists.

While sophomore guard Jacobi Wood outscored the Owls single-handedly with 15 points in the first 13 minutes of action to build a 37-13 lead, senior 3-point “sniper” Deontae Davis poured it on even more.

Showing off his motor, the defending district 3-point leader scored at a rapid pace.

Calling his shot from the left corner for three at the 2:35 mark of the second quarter was just the start of his 13-point breakout. With a feisty defense helping create 16 first half turnovers, Davis also scored three straight layups in a 25-second span.

The sharpshooter then created a buzz throughout the gymnasium.

Two steps in past the top left of half court, Davis lifted off the court to swish a 30-plus foot buzzer-beater for a 52-16 lead at the break after a 30-point second quarter.

He and Wood led all scorers with 15 at halftime and combined for five 3-pointers.

“Jacobi and Deontae were solid from the get-go in terms of scoring, defending and grabbing deflections,” Coach McCowan said. “I was proud we were able to get off to such a great start and play with a lot of energy. Our defense really set us up in great ways offensively.”

Floor general and senior Mullek Bradford was sharp as well in the victory, as the crafty point guard finished with 10 points, eight assists and three steals. Wood had seven assists and four steals and tied Davis for a game-high 17 points.

USC Upstate was in the building scouting Bradford and Davis, who are two of five CHS’ five seniors who all have received college interest.

“We can really throw a lot of guards in our lineup and we’ve found success with it,” McCowan said. “Romeo (Wykle) and Mullek do a lot of the little things that don’t pop out in the scorebook. It’s going to be fun to celebrate our five seniors Tuesday night (against McMinn County) in the last regular season game in Raider Arena.”

“The seniors make my job a lot of fun. All of them have great parents, and I am honored to be able to coach those guys.”

A defensive standout and Bradley County’s leader in yards per reception this past football season, Wykle will choose between Lafayette (Pa.) and Tennessee Tech this coming Wednesday for his future on the gridiron.

The Blue Raiders (18-3, 10-0) capped off their eighth district victory by at least 19 points with strong fourth quarters from senior Alex “Paco” Patterson and junior Isaiah Johnson.

Patterson scored a career-high 11 points and hit two of his three 3-pointers in the closing eight minutes. He and Davis combined to shoot 6-of-10 from three.

“Paco calls me or I will call him, and we go shoot a lot together,” Davis said. “He has really improved a lot. He works hard and I just want to see him succeed in life. He’s a great teammate and friend.”

Johnson caught fire for 11 of his 16 points off the bench in the fourth, in which he added a pair of 3-pointers and Kley McGowan also hit from deep.

Ooltewah (11-13, 2-8) was led by Kobe Smith, who led all scorers with 18.

While last year’s defending district champions finished 25-4 with an 11-1 regular season mark in district play, Cleveland feels as if this year’s group could take things a step even further.

The Blue Raiders will battle the Cherokees Tuesday on Senior Night and travel to East Hamilton on Thursday. They will travel to Bearden on Feb. 12 in the regular season finale before the district tournament begins Feb. 14 at Walker Valley.

“We are more team-oriented than last year,” Patterson said. “We work really hard together. We play with passion and have a lot of great chemistry. We all have fun and want to help our team go even further than last season. We have to bring this same energy one game at a time.”



After three lackluster quarters, Joy Douglass knew she and her teammates had to focus and settle the final score.

While the freshman CHS guard scored the games first eight points to build an 11-0 lead four minutes in, Ooltewah fought back to trail just 39-37 entering the final quarter of play.

Douglass and her teammates avoided a major letdown as they locked down defensively to force 10 turnovers and three jump balls, two of which went the Lady Raiders’ way to close out the victory holding the host to just four points.

Freshman Kara Williams, senior Madison Dasher and Douglass all made 3-pointers to help build a 52-37 lead with 3:40 left to play. 

Douglass finished with a game-high 15 points and doubled her long-distance makes on the season entering the night as she was 2-of-3 from beyond the arc.

“I want to help push this team as far as we can go this season,” Douglass said. “I have really been working hard, and Coach (Tony) Williams has been helping all of us with our game a lot. We needed this win and had to really find ourselves in the fourth quarter.”

Senior Caitlin Reed also finished in double figures with 10 points and had a pair of steals and three assists.

Braylee Franklin, Sydney Callahan and Williams each hit a pair of 3s, as the Lady Raiders finished with nine altogether.

Cleveland is now 13-10 overall with a 6-4 mark in District 5-AAA play, both improvements from an 11-15 and 5-7 showing from last season.

Madalyn Mills and Annalee Cline finished with 14 and 10, respectively, but the Lady Owls (5-14, 1-10) upset bid fell short late.

A home win over McMinn County Tuesday on Senior Night, who was taken down by the Lady Raiders 59-54 earlier in the season, would lock up the No. 3 seed for CHS with just two district games left for both teams.

“It’s going to be a big game for our girls,” Williams said. “To finish in the top three would be a major accomplishment for this team. I was really proud of the way Joy battled out there tonight and we played like a good basketball team in the fourth quarter. We have to bring it all four quarters Tuesday.”



Cleveland: 22;30;11;24 — 87

Ooltewah: 9;7;19;11 — 46

BLUE RAIDERS (87): Deontae Davis 17, Jacobi Wood 17, Isaiah Johnson 16, Alex “Paco” Patterson 11, Mullek Bradford 10, Ware 6, McGowan 3, Wykle 3, Black 2, Hurst, Colbaugh, Howard.

OWLS (46): Kobe Smith 18, Henry 8, Wood 8, Houston 6, Braden 5, McClung 1, Shrophshire, McHone, Robinson, Sims.

3-Pointers: CHS 11 (Davis 3, Paco 3, Johnson 2, Wood 2, McGowan 1). OHS 2 (Wood, Henry).

Free Throws: CHS 11-of-18; OHS 8-of-14.

Records: Cleveland 18-3, 10-0 5-AAA; Ooltewah 11-13, 2-8 5-AAA.


Cleveland: 17;11;11;15 — 54

Ooltewah: 8;14;15;4 — 41

LADY RAIDERS (54): Joy Douglass 15, Caitlin Reed 10, Franklin 6, Williams 6, Callahan 6, Flowers 3, Drake 2, Langford 2, Rominger 1.

LADY OWLS (41): Madalyn Mills 14, Annalee Cline 10, Turman 9, Patterson 6, Chestnut 1, Poland 1.

3-Pointers: CHS 9; OHS 2

Records: Cleveland 13-10, 6-4; OHS 5-14, 1-10

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