The wrapping is barely off the shiny new gymnasium at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School, but the Warriors already have a couple of nice highlight wins in it against their Catoosa County rivals.
The latest, a 67-42 trouncing of Ringgold on Friday night, came despite off nights offensively from guards Alex Rattanaxay and J.J. Johnson and early foul trouble from center Daniel Oliver. Zack Powers and Tristan Evans helped pick up the slack with 12 points each and Oliver, after sitting out most of the first half, dominated in the third period when LFO (6-3, 1-1 in Region 5-AAA) pulled away.
"We played hard the whole game and had some kids step up," noted Wayne Weaver, coaching this year for Jerry Jones. "Our guards didn't play well offensively tonight, but our posts really came to play. Daniel has a lot of potential. He can shoot the 3, shoot off the dribble and play physical when he has to. We haven't seen his best basketball yet, but he's getting there and he showed tonight some of that."
With the score tied at 27 entering the third period, the rejuvenated Oliver sparked a 12-2 run that propelled the Warriors to a 41-30 lead. He scored six points during the run and ended the period with five rebounds and three blocked shots. LFO, which had problems with the Ringgold press in the opening half, began attacking the middle with strong drives, resulting in a 10-for-10 collection of free throws in the period.
"Sitting on the bench in the first half, I saw they were leaving the middle open on the press, so we had to attack it there," said Oliver, who had a game-high 18 points. "Our defense was the key tonight, especially our guards, Alec and J.J. It's nice to beat both Heritage and Ringgold in our gym, a great way to start."
The Tigers were within 10 late in the quarter when Evans, who led all rebounders with nine, hit a layup off a nice feed from Rattanaxay, and Johnson followed his own miss with a rebound and putback just before the buzzer for a 50-36 lead. A 13-0 LFO run in the final period put any comeback hopes at bay for Ringgold.
"It's always great to beat your county rivals, and it's especially nice to do it here," Weaver said. "We really hope to build a nice home-court advantage here, but we're still learning to play here as well. I think this team has a lot of potential."
Joey Roach led Ringgold with 13 points, with Dakota Baer adding 11.
Contact Lindsey Young at email@example.com or at 423-757-6296.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...