Note: This story was last updated at 6:35 p.m. March 16.
MURFREESBORO—Oak Ridge beat Brentwood 53-45 in a state quarterfinal basketball game on Wednesday to advance to a semifinal game against Memphis East on Friday.
It’s the farthest the Wildcats have made it in the Class AAA state tournament since 2014, when they finished as state runner-up, losing 60-58 to Blackman.
Oak Ridge and Brentwood hadn’t played before. The Wednesday afternoon quarterfinal game in Murphy Center at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro was the last of the four Class AAA games. It was the closest of those four games in the BlueCross Basketball Championships. Oak Ridge led by one point, 20-19, at halftime.
The Wildcats (31-2) were led by senior Tyshawn Young with 18 points and nine rebounds. Young was 6-of-6 from the free throw line.
Oak Ridge senior Tee Higgins, who has signed to play football at Clemson, had 16 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two spectacular blocks, and a dunk on a lob pass, as well as another one after driving up the lane.
Brentwood (26-9) was led by seniors Kellen King and Reed Smith with 15 points each. Smith had six rebounds, and King had five.
They were the only four players on either team in double digits. Brentwood slowed down the pace against Oak Ridge, which is more accustomed to scoring 60, 70, or 80 points—or even more. The Wildcats, who have won 19 straight games, have scored more than 100 points four times this season.
The Wildcats started off shooting a low 23.1 percent from the field on 3-of-13 shooting on Wednesday, but they shot better in the next three quarters (40 percent, 77.8 percent, and 55.6 percent). They finished at 46.3 percent from the field, while Brentwood was held to 37 percent.
Neither team made many three-point shots. Oak Ridge had one, and the Bruins had two.
The Wildcats had a 29-25 rebounding advantage.
The Friday semifinal game between Oak Ridge and Memphis East starts at 11:30 a.m. Central time (12:30 p.m. Eastern) in Murphy Center at MTSU. The championship game is on Saturday.
Independence (24-10) of Thompson’s Station and Southwind (31-6) of Memphis will play in the other semifinal game on Friday.
Independence beat Bearden (22-10) of Knoxville, 63-48, in the first quarterfinal game on Wednesday to advance to the semifinal against Southwind on Friday.
Southwind eliminated Oakland (24-8) of Murfreesboro, 59-40, in the second quarterfinal game on Wednesday.
The Independence-Southwind semifinal game starts at 10 a.m. Central Friday.
Memphis East (31-3) beat East Hamilton (25-11) of Chattanooga in the third quarterfinal game on Wednesday to advance to the semifinal against Oak Ridge on Friday.
The Wildcats and Memphis East last met two years ago, when the Mustangs eliminated Oak Ridge 68-57 in a state quarterfinal game. Memphis East was the Class AAA state champion last year.
Oak Ridge has seniors Tajion Jones, a Mr. Basketball finalist this year, and Tee Higgins, a Mr. Basketball finalist last year.
Memphis East has Alex Lomax, the Mr. Basketball winner this year.
In Class AA, Knoxville Catholic also advanced to a state semifinal game on Friday. Catholic will play Whites Creek at 1:15 p.m. Friday in Murphy Center.
You can see the Class AAA tournament bracket here.
You can see final game statistics here.
You can see more detailed stats here.
You can see the Class AA tournament bracket here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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