Nonprofit wants to revitalize Blankenship Field, Jack Armstrong Stadium

Blankenship Field Overall Plan

An overall view of the proposed renovation of Blankenship Field and Jack Armstrong Stadium.


A nonprofit foundation wants to revitalize Blankenship Field and Jack Armstrong stadium and create a world-class gathering place that can accommodate more than 20,000 people in a natural amphitheater for sporting and other events, organizers said.

The Blankenship Field Revitalization Foundation has been formed by private residents, and it is led by Tennessee Senator Randy McNally, an Oak Ridge Republican. Organizers said the foundation is coordinating the revitalization project and fundraising activities in cooperation with the City of Oak Ridge and Oak Ridge Schools.

“In revitalizing Blankenship Field, we hope to honor the historic founders of Oak Ridge, a community dedicated to world-class education, scientific discovery, and a high quality of life,” organizers said. [Read more…]

Fourth-quarter comeback not enough as Wildcats fall to Mustangs in state quarterfinal

Note: This story was last updated at 4 p.m.

After falling behind by 12 points, Oak Ridge narrowed the Memphis East lead to two in a fourth-quarter comeback sparked by junior Darel Middleton, but it wasn’t enough as the Wildcats lost to the Mustangs in a state quarterfinal game in Murfreesboro on Wednesday.

It’s the end of the season for the Wildcats (29-4), who played their last game with senior Ted Mitchell.

Sophomore Tajion Jones hit four three-pointers for Oak Ridge in the BlueCross Basketball Championship game at Murphy Center at Middle Tennessee State University. Three of those were in the first two quarters, and they helped give the Wildcats a 30-28 lead at halftime. [Read more…]

Community honors, pays tribute to Kocak in candlelight vigil at ORHS

Joey Kocak Candelight Vigil Balloons

Sophomores release balloons as other football players watch during a community candlelight vigil at Oak Ridge High School on Sunday for student-athlete Joey Kocak, who died at home on Wednesday. (Photo by Julio Culiat)


Note: This story was updated at 4:32 p.m.

The Oak Ridge community honored sophomore James Joseph “Joey” Kocak during a candlelight vigil at Oak Ridge High School on Sunday.

Friends and coaches shared their memories of Kocak, who had played on the football and basketball teams this year, during the candlelight vigil at Ben Martin Track at ORHS.

They encouraged the large crowd that attended to preserve their precious memories of Kocak, a 16-year-old sophomore who passed away at his home on Wednesday, March 4.

“I really hope that this isn’t the last time we’ll honor him,” said Mollie Turner.

Friends and coaches recalled Kocak’s memorable smirk, his playful moments, and his high-pitched singing on the back of the bus, belting out tunes like “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” [Read more…]



Candlelight vigil for Kocak this evening

James Joseph "Joey" Kocak

James Joseph “Joey” Kocak

There will be a community candlelight vigil for student-athlete Joey Kocak (#79) at 7 p.m. today (Sunday, March 8) at Ben Martin Track at Oak Ridge High School.

Kocak was 16 and a sophomore at ORHS. He died at home on March 4.

Kocak was the youngest of four children, and he was also a musician and loved the outdoors, his family said in his obituary. Kocak had been on both the football and basketball teams this year.

The Kocak family will be receiving friends on Monday, March 9, at St. Mary’s Church from 5-7:30 p.m., followed by the memorial service. A reception will be held at St. Mary’s gym, immediately following the services.

Oak Ridge Wildcat Football is asking the community to attend the candlelight vigil on Sunday evening. The vigil is hosted by the Oak Ridge Wildcat Football staff and boosters.

Lady Bobcats lose in state semifinal 63-45

Oliver Springs Lady Bobcats Rachel Griffith and Clarkrange

Senior guard Rachel Griffith (22) of Oliver Springs, who scored 15 points, looks for a shot during a 63-45 loss to Clarkrange in a Class A state tournament semifinal game in Murfreesboro on Saturday. (Photo by Kindell Moore) 


Note: This story was last updated at 11:19 p.m.

MURFREESBORO—The Lady Bobcats made it to the final four, but they fell short of advancing to the state championship game, losing to Clarkrange 63-45 in a state semifinal game in Murfreesboro on Saturday.

The Lady Bobcats (29-7) were unable to repeat their shooting performance of a day earlier. On Friday, Oliver Springs shot 60 percent from the field in a 67-41 blowout over Decatur County Riverside in a Class A quarterfinal game. But on Saturday, the Lady Bobcats were 32 percent from the field (16 of 50).

The Lady Buffaloes (31-5) got off to a 17-1 start and were up 34-17 at halftime, thanks in part to six three-point shots, or 18 points total. The Lady Bobcats were able to narrow the lead to seven (20-13) on a jumper by senior guard Emily Griffith late in the first quarter, but that was as close as they got.

Oliver Springs, which hadn’t been to the state tournament since 2009, narrowed the lead to 44-33 on a 15-10 run in the third quarter. [Read more…]

Lady Bobcats advance to state semifinals as Griffith sisters score 39

Oliver Springs Lady Bobcats Emily Griffith and Riverside

Senior Emily Griffith (11) of Oliver Springs scored 14 points, and her twin sister Rachel Griffith led all scorers with 25 as the Lady Bobcats coasted to a 67-41 win over Riverside in a state tournament quarterfinal game in Murfreesboro on Friday. Also pictured is Riverside senior Bree Linton (24) and freshman Deidre McElrath (11). (Photo by Kindell Moore)


Note: This story was last updated at 7:15 p.m.

MURFREESBORO—Senior Rachel Griffith of Oliver Springs scored 25 points, and her twin sister Emily Griffith had 14 points and six assists as the Lady Bobcats coasted to a 67-41 win over Decatur County Riverside in a state Class A girls’ quarterfinal game in Murfreesboro on Friday.

“During tournament time, they really, really stepped it up and started playing at a different level,” Oliver Springs Coach Michelle Christopher said of the sisters, who are both 5-foot-5 senior guards. “They both played really big today.”

Rachel Griffith, who led all scorers, picked up 19 of her points in the second half, including on repeated trips to the free-throw line. Griffith shot seven of 11 from the field and was 10 of 13 from the line.

As a team, the Lady Bobcats shot 60 percent (22 of 37) from the field. Meanwhile, Riverside struggled at 25 percent (14 of 57). [Read more…]

Oliver Springs, other state tournament games postponed

Murfreesboro Snow Ice on March 5, 2015

Ice covered about two inches of snow in Murfreesboro on Thursday morning, and the Oliver Springs Lady Bobcats state quarterfinal game has been postponed to Friday morning. (Photo courtesy


The Oliver Springs Lady Bobcats had been scheduled to play in a state quarterfinal game in Mufreesboro this morning (Thursday morning), but that game has been postponed to Friday morning.

All other TSSAA state basketball tournament games scheduled for today have also been postponed due to extremely hazardous road conditions. The Thursday schedule will resume at 11 a.m. Central time Friday (12 p.m. Eastern) in order to allow extra time for road conditions to improve in the morning.

Friday’s scheduled semifinal games will be played on Saturday beginning at 1:30 p.m. Central due to the Middle Tennessee State University’s women’s basketball game that is scheduled at 10 a.m. Saturday’s scheduled championship games will be played on Sunday. [Read more…]

Closings: Oak Ridge, Roane Schools; some city, county, state offices

Oak Ridge Schools and Roane County Schools are both closed today. So are Anderson County government offices, and the Oak Ridge Public Library and Senior Center. All other municipal offices will operate on a regular schedule.

Anderson County courts are also canceled, and daytime classes at Roane State Community College campuses, including in Oak Ridge, have been canceled. A decision on nighttime classes (those that begin after 4:30 p.m.) will be made later.

State offices are also closed because of the current weather situation in West and Middle Tennessee and forecasted winter weather moving east. [Read more…]

Wildcats advance to state tournament on late free throws by Higgins, block by Johnson

Oak Ridge Wildcats Javien Johnson Geevantay Gee and Science Hill

Juniors Javien Johnson (11) and Geevantay Gee (12) of the Oak Ridge Wildcats defend against the Science Hill Hilltoppers during a 55-53 win in a Class AAA sectional game in Johnson City on Tuesday. Johnson blocked a shot by Malik McGue, who scored five of his eight points in the fourth quarter of his final game for Science Hill, with 0.8 seconds to play to help win the game. (Photo courtesy Trey Williams/Johnson City Press)


JOHNSON CITY—The Oak Ridge Wildcats are heading back to the state tournament in Murfreesboro next week after their comeback 55-53 win against a hungry Science Hill group at Tuesday night’s Class AAA Sectional game. Two free throws by sophomore Tee Higgins with 5.1 seconds left and a defensive block by junior Javien Johnson with 0.8 seconds left helped the Wildcats pull away with the victory.

It seemed that Science Hill (23-15) couldn’t miss from the floor in the first half. The Hilltoppers hit six three-pointers in the first half—four in the first quarter alone. One of those four included a buzzer-beating three at the end of the first quarter. With the buzzer-beater, the Hilltoppers had a 16-12 lead on the Wildcats.

In the second quarter, Oak Ridge (29-3) fell behind quickly. At one point, the Wildcats were down 24-14. However, thanks to two three-pointers by sophomore DeAndre Gibson, the Wildcats were able to gather themselves and go on a 13-6 run to end the quarter. With one half in the books, Oak Ridge was trailing 30-27.

The second quarter was the only quarter of the game that didn’t have a tie or a lead change. Oak Ridge had three three-pointers in the first half, all of them courtesy of Gibson (2) and sophomore Tajion Jones (1).

The Hilltoppers battled back in the second half. After Oak Ridge jumped out to a 34-30 lead, the Hilltoppers rattled off seven straight points to take the 37-34 lead. Oak Ridge pulled within a point of taking the lead back, and Science Hill drained a three. There actually was a span of 30 seconds in the third that had four consecutive combined threes hit by both teams. However, the Wildcats scored late in the third to give themselves a 44-43 lead with one quarter left to decide who went to the state tournament and who stayed home. [Read more…]

Lady Bobcats advance to state tournament in 51-49 overtime win over Hampton

Oliver Springs Lady Bobcats Celebrate Sectional Win

The Oliver Springs Lady Bobcats celebrate a 51-49 overtime win over Hampton in a Class A sectional game in Oliver Springs on Monday. (Photo by Hannah Ellis/


Note: This story was last updated at 1:40 p.m. March 3.

Oliver Springs beat Hampton 51-49 in overtime in a Class A sectional game on Monday, and the Lady Bobcats will play in a state quarterfinal game in Murfreesboro on Thursday.

Oliver Springs (28-6) will take on Decatur County Riverside (24-9) at 9:30 a.m. (10:30 a.m. Eastern time) Thursday, March 5, at the Murphy Center at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro.

Senior twins Emily (22 points) and Rachel Griffith (15) combined to score 37 points for the Lady Bobcats on Monday, including 13 in the fourth quarter and the only two Oliver Springs baskets in overtime. The game was tied at 47 at the end of the fourth quarter.

[Read more…]

Blackmon, 3-pointers give Maryville a 60-56 edge over Wildcats in Region 2 final

Oak Ridge Wildcats Javien Johnson at Region 2 Championship 2015

Junior forward Javien Johnson (11) was the leading scorer for the Wildcats with 16 points. T.D. Blackmon of Maryville (33), who led all scorers with 23, is pictured at lower left. Senior post Bryce Miller (32), partially obscured at center, added 15 for the Rebels.


Note: This story was last updated at 9 p.m.

Sophomore guard T.D. Blackmon hit three three-pointers in the first half and knocked down 10 of 11 free throws in the second to give Maryville a 60-56 edge over Oak Ridge in the Region 2-AAA Championship at Wildcat Arena on Sunday.

But the playoff run isn’t over for the Wildcats (28-3). As Region 2 Runner-Up, they’ll travel to Johnson City to play Science Hill, the Region 1 Champion, in a sectional game at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Blackmon led all scorers with 23 points in the regional final on Sunday.

“He got to the foul line. He got to the basket,” Oak Ridge Coach Aaron Green said. “We didn’t do a good job of guarding him.”

Oak Ridge Wildcats Geevantay Gee at Region 2 Championship 2015

Never afraid to drive to the rim through traffic, junior point guard Geevantay Gee (12) scored 15 points for the Oak Ridge Wildcats in the Region 2-AAA Championship against Maryville on Sunday. (Photo by Melissa Livesey)


The Rebels (25-6) hit seven three-pointers against the Wildcats on Sunday, including five in the first quarter alone. That gave them a 29-26 lead at halftime, with 18 of those points coming from three-point shots. [Read more…]

Steal helps save OT win for Wildcats, who play for Region 2 championship Sunday

Oak Ridge Wildcats Student Section at Region 2-AAA Semifinal 2015

The Region 2-AAA semifinal basketball game between Oak Ridge and Heritage came down to the wire at home on Saturday. Above the Oak Ridge student section watches the match, which wasn’t decided until the final seconds. (Photo by Terri Blair)


Note: This story was last updated at 12:54 a.m. March 1.

A steal by senior Ted Mitchell late in the game helped save an overtime win for the Oak Ridge Wildcats in a regional tournament semifinal game against Heritage on Saturday.

The Wildcats (28-2) were also helped by a big basket by sophomore Tee Higgins late in overtime, when Oak Ridge was down by one. Higgins’ shot off the glass gave the Wildcats a one-point 44-43 lead with about 1:10 to play. A free throw by junior Geevantay Gee after Mitchell’s steal widened the margin to two.

Heritage (23-12) missed their final two back-to-back shots with about seven seconds left, and the final score at Wildcat Arena was 45-43.

Oak Ridge moves on to play Maryville (24-6) in the Region 2-AAA championship at home at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. [Read more…]