published Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

State trio have energy boosters

Everyone in the area has heard of Corey Nelson. Same could be said for Brandon Walters, Jervon Johnson and Antonio Jackson. Their abilities and achievements have been in the forefront of Grace Academy's, Howard's and Ooltewah's advancement to the TSSAA state basketball tournament.

Ask the head coaches, though, and they say the following three players also have been and continue to be vital parts of their teams' success -- even in less obvious roles:

Mikhail Creech, Ooltewah

Ooltewah coach Jesse Nayadley has a lot of options for offensive production for the Owls this season, but when it comes to defense and energy, No. 3 is the one getting all the looks.

With his 6-foot-4 frame, massive wingspan and leaping ability, Creech has averaged 13.8 rebounds and 3.8 blocks for the 27-4 Owls.

"He wasn't an all-district or all-tournament player, but he has been the most important player on the floor for us this postseason," Nayadley said. "He's brought an energy that we've needed night in and night out."

Rashad Brummitt, Howard

Brummitt hasn't been the biggest of the headline grabbers this season for the 21-9 Hustlin' Tigers, but on a team full of playmakers, the junior has made his presence felt this postseason with four double-digit scoring performances in seven games.

"He might come off the bench for us, but he provides the spark that we need with his scoring and defense," Howard coach Walter McGary said.

Aaron Tisdale, Grace

As a 5-9 guard coming off the bench, Tisdale should know better than to put his nose in other people's business. Yet the junior seems to have a problem with that, and his aggressive nature has helped the Golden Eagles return to the state tournament for the first time since 2009.

"He's our defensive stopper," Grace coach Jon Mattheiss said. "He comes off the bench and provides a lot of energy doing the intangible things, like taking charges and going in and sneaking an offensive rebound.

"He brings a lot of energy and has been big for us this season."

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