TOP PHOTO: LMS Owl Head Basketball Coach Ken Weaver is the last to cut the net on Friday afternoon on Coach Vic King Court.

LaFollette Owls(left to right) McKinley Robbins, Dawson Warren, Coach Jody Hatmaker, Ethan Hess, Kaden Suttles, Hunter Dotson, Gabe Sanders, Hunter Walker, Jake Hatmaker, Ethan Dorton, Jaden Wright and Coach Ken Weaver. (PHOTO COURTESY OF WLAF’S CHARLIE HUTSON)

By Charlotte Underwood 

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – The cheers were deafening in the Jerry Irwin Memorial Gym as TMSAA Area 2 District Tournament Champions LaFollette Owls cut down the basketball nets to celebrate their Thursday night title game win over the Oak Ridge Jefferson Eagles.

WLAF’s Charlie Hutson shares his photo gallery HERE.

Each player, along with Coach Ken Weaver and Assistant Coach Jody Hatmaker, climbed the ladder and cut a piece of the net down to keep as a memento. Honorary Owl Jaden Wright was also given a piece of the net. 

The Owls defeated the Eagles 44-39 at Cherokee, winning the TMSAA Area 2 Tournament Championship and advancing to the Saturday’s Sectionals. The Owls and Eagles split during the regular season.

Owls await their turn to cut down the net.

Jake Hatmaker was named the Tournament’s Most Valuable Player, along with All-Tournament.  Ethan Dorton and Hunter Dotson were also named to the All-Tournament Team.

The team was all smiles as it posed with portions of the basketball net. 

(Front row left to right) Hunter Walker, Ethan Hess and Kaden Suttles. (Back row left to right) Dawson Warren, Gabe Sanders, McKinley Robbins, Coach Jody Hatmaker, Coach Ken Weaver, Ethan Dorton, Jake Hatmaker and Hunter Dotson.

Both coaches said they were proud of the boys and their achievements. Winning the district championship was a goal the team set in the seventh grade in May of 2022, according to Weaver, who said the team “played well” to accomplish its goal.

“The guys did a great job of being active on defense. You want to be playing your best basketball at tournament time and they are,” Weaver said.

Owl Ethan Dorton snips the first strand of nylon as he and his teammates and coaches celebrate with the LMS student body.

Assistant Coach Hatmaker said most of the team had been playing together since elementary school, and it showed.

“They are a cohesive unit, so I’m not surprised it all came together to be a perfect night,” Hatmaker said. 

On Saturday, the LaFollette Owls played the Johnson County Longhorns at Cherokee High School at Rogersville winning 52 to 29 advancing to the next round of the TMSAA Sectionals. LMS plays Wednesday at 7pm at Pigeon Forge Middle School against the Sentinels of Chattanooga Preparatory School. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 01/30/2023-6AM-PHOTOS COURTESY OF WLAF’S CHARLIE HUTSON)