TOP PHOTO: Jake Hatmaker was named Most Valuable Player of the TMSAA Area 2 District Tournament. Hatmaker helped lead the La Follette Owls to an opening round Sectional game on Saturday. (PHOTO COURTESY OF WLAF’S CHARLIE HUTSON)

ROGERSVILLE, TN (WLAF) – On Saturday afternoon, the La Follette Owls passed their first test in the TMSAA Sectional 1 Basketball tournament at Cherokee High School. The Owls blitzed the Johnson County Longhorns 52-29. The win advances La Follette to the next round of the Sectional 1 Tournament to be played Wednesday at Pigeon Forge Junior High.

La Follette set the tone early outscoring Johnson County 30 to 11 in the first half. The Longhorns made a run after the Owls only managed seven points in the third quarter cutting the La Follette lead down to 10. However, in the fourth quarter, La Follette pulled away to claim its 18th win of the season against five losses.

Three Owls posted double-figures with Jake Hatmaker leading the way with 17 scoring eight of his points down the stretch in the fourth quarter. Hunter Walker added 13, and Ethan Dorton had 10 points, four in the fourth quarter. Hunter Dotson tallied seven points, and Ethan Hess finished with five.

The La Follette Owls are working to have a chance to cut down more nets as their post season run continues on Wednesday.

The Sentinels of Chattanooga Preparatory School are the next opponent for La Follette. That game tips off Wednesday at 7pm at Pigeon Forge. The winner of this game advances to the Final Four of Sectional 1 on Thursday with the championship set for Saturday also at Pigeon Forge.

The team that emerges with a win on Saturday will play the in the Final Four of the TMSAA State Tournament on Friday, February 10, and a win in that game puts that team in the championship on Saturday, February 11. The Friday game will be played at Rockvale High School with the February 11 game at Stewarts Creek High School; both schools are near Murfreesboro in Rutherford County. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 01/30/2023-6AM-PHOTOS COURTESY OF WLAF’S CHARLIE HUTSON)