Pilot Rocky Top League championship to HT Group

The HT Group ran like a well-oiled machine en route to its second consecutive Pilot Rocky Top League championship under coach Pat Walden.

"The key was getting guys that played well as a team and bought into the team concept,'' Walden said. "No one cared who scored; we just identified mismatches.''

Boo Jackson scored 30 points for the HT Group (5-2) in its 104-100 victory over the News Sentinel on Thursday night at Bearden High School.

The News Sentinel (5-2) trailed by as many as 15 points, and was down 90-79 with 4:52 left.

But former University of Tennessee standout JaJuan Smith, who finished with 33 points, caught fire from the perimeter, and a pair of Alex Oliver free throws tied the game at 92-92 with 2:04 left.

HT Group was too big and physical, though, with the 6-foot-8 Jackson and 6-9 Wayne Chism of UT dominating the boards throughout.

"That's the biggest team we faced, and with Boo, Wayne and Renaldo Woolridge, they're also quick enough on the perimeter,'' former UT standout Dane Bradshaw said. "We should have been pressing a lot earlier and made their bigs make more passes and guard decisions.''

The referees whistled a foul when Bradshaw went up with a 3-pointer with a second left, yet Bradshaw wasn't allowed to attempt the free throws.

"The ref said it was because we were down four,'' Bradshaw said. "I'm not saying we would have won, but what if you make the first two and then get a tip?'''

UT rising sophomore Scotty Hopson, who scored 24 points on 8-of-20 shooting, was not happy.

"It's very frustrating. I was really wanting to win this,'' said Hopson, who led the league in scoring throughout most of the season. "We lost the game on rebounds. They're a big team, and it was real tough on the boards.''

UT's Brian Williams had 18 points for The News Sentinel, but he was forced to leave the game during a crucial stretch after getting poked in the eye as the action grew more physical down the stretch.

Asheville's Jon Primm (16 points) and Fulton High School's Jalen Steele never wavered in the backcourt for HT Group.

Steele was particularly effective, scoring 22 points with UT walk-on Skylar McBee guarding him throughout the night.

"I would love to play in the SEC. Some teams are giving me a look,'' said Steele, who is giving serious consideration to an offer from mid-major power Dayton. "I may decide later this month, but if not I'll sign in November.

"This was fun, our team really jelled and figured out what it could do with shooters, drivers and mismatches inside with Wayne, Boo and Renaldo.''

Chism said he took a different, more serious approach to the league this season, and it made a difference.

"I've picked up a lot of stuff, and I wanted to use it and work on it,'' said Chism, who was more effective off the dribble than in the past. "I let people know this wasn't going to just be a guard league.

"Now I got to go out and win an SEC championship.''

Richardson Construction 115, Ray's ESG 104: Micah Williams of East Tennessee State erupted for 39 points as Richardson Construction (4-3) built an early lead and never faltered in the consolation game.

Former UT player Damon Johnson had 19 and John Mueller had 18 for Richardson, while UT's Tyler Smith scored only 10.

"I came into the game wanting to pass the ball around,'' Smith said. "If they kept track of my assists, I set the record.''

Did Smith think he got 20 assists?

"Probably 25,'' he said with a laugh.

Ryan Westbrooks starred for Ray's (3-4), which was playing without former UT players C.J. Watson and Ron Slay.

Westbrooks scored 31 while UT signee Kenny Hall added 29.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2009, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2009 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 18

wildberry14 writes:

la dee dah

Orangeblood13 writes:

FREE COOTER!

b_neas writes:

Kenny Hall is sounding like he can contribute as a Fresh

Orange_Swarm1 writes:

Hopson will average 18.7 ppg next year...

BOOK IT.

tallfry writes:

same thing i saw last year...
CHISM IN YO FACE!!
chism for mvp. he's unguardable.

Major_Magilicutty writes:

if he wants it. Hope he does something this season...could be a special player.

txvolsfan writes:

I love it that Scotty is pissed that he lost the summer league. Tells a lot about his competitiveness!!!

DownTheField writes:

This team is special. I'm really looking forward to basketball season. I can't remember ever really feeling this way this early, right before football. GBO!

Bigger_Al writes:

How about the ref not letting Dane shoot the free throws? Is Naffy a ref?

Wayfarer writes:

Would love to see Steele wear orange & white. If he can play this well in the Rocky Top league maybe Coach Pearl will give him a shot. Fulton basketball players have always done well when they signed with the Vols, think Widby & Justus.

Phowell23 writes:

Brian Williams had to go sit on the bench after play became more physical. I got a laugh out of that line.

joe#226608 writes:

in response to wlvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Well aren't we just a ray of sunshine! I am glad you are having such a happy day!

Hoops43 writes:

As a Rocky Top coach here are my views:
Tyler Smith showed improved outside shooting & ball handling skills. Scotty Hopson showed his athleticism and shooting stroke. Defense needs work. Wayne Chism showed more maturity, dominated on the boards and shot the ball extremely well and led his team to a championship. Cameron Tatum played well in spurts but became frustrated playing on a poor team with limited help. Bobby Maze looked to be much improved offensively but then again he looked good last year. Skylar McBee has the potential to help in certain situations because he shoots the 3 so well and we may face more zone defense. Renaldo Woolridge needs to step up and play to his potential. Brian Williams is still improving and can be counted on for solid minutes. Kenny Hall improved every time he stepped on the court. He has a huge upside with added muscle that will come with Troy Willis strength program. He has great length and good footwork for an incoming freshman. Josh Tabb is a lock down defender who will benefit from a move back to his natural position.

DownTheField writes:

in response to wlvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Really? You have a problem with their "grammer" (sic), eh? Amazing. You are an idiot.

NashvillePreds writes:

in response to wlvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Take your medicine.

richvol writes:

in response to Hoops43:

As a Rocky Top coach here are my views:
Tyler Smith showed improved outside shooting & ball handling skills. Scotty Hopson showed his athleticism and shooting stroke. Defense needs work. Wayne Chism showed more maturity, dominated on the boards and shot the ball extremely well and led his team to a championship. Cameron Tatum played well in spurts but became frustrated playing on a poor team with limited help. Bobby Maze looked to be much improved offensively but then again he looked good last year. Skylar McBee has the potential to help in certain situations because he shoots the 3 so well and we may face more zone defense. Renaldo Woolridge needs to step up and play to his potential. Brian Williams is still improving and can be counted on for solid minutes. Kenny Hall improved every time he stepped on the court. He has a huge upside with added muscle that will come with Troy Willis strength program. He has great length and good footwork for an incoming freshman. Josh Tabb is a lock down defender who will benefit from a move back to his natural position.

What are your impressions of Negedu?

tallfry writes:

i've never understood this negedu love affair... i'm no big brian williams fan, but we seemed much better with him on the floor vs negedu last year, even when negedu did something. yet on gvx it was always 'more negedu!' he's too small to be a lock down post defender and i don't see a basketball iq there at all, or much offense. williams is raw, but he shows tons of potential with those soft hands and big body. plus, where's the love for wayne the main man? he was our best player easily last year, show the love! CHISM ALL OVER THE COURT!!

Hoops43 writes:

Accidentily omitted E-Man from the previous post. Showed the freakish athletic ability that we all know he has. Showed well in the RTL with powerful dunks but don't know how much of that translates to success in the SEC. He's too small to be very effective inthe post. Think a bigger, stronger Stanly Asumnu. Not great BB skills but big upside.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features