Led by the 26 points of senior Jaylin Henderson, the Oak Ridge Wildcats opened up a large lead against Powell in the second half on Friday night, avenging a loss to the Panthers earlier this season with a 79-47 win.
The Panthers (10-6, 6-4 in District 3) jumped out to an early lead as the Wildcats missed some easy shots in the first quarter. But the 6-foot-1 Henderson kept the Wildcats alive, and senior Isaac Merian dropped in a three-pointer near the end of the first quarter that gave Oak Ridge its first lead of the night. The Wildcats (19-5, 9-1) never looked back.
Oak Ridge Coach Aaron Green said it was likely the best game of the year for Henderson, a senior guard. He defended well, didn’t force shots, and wasn’t selfish with the ball, Green said. Henderson had six rebounds and five assists.
Other players contributed as well. The 6-foot-6 Merian had 13 points, and freshman Tee Higgins added 10, including a one-handed dunk in the fourth quarter that fired up the Wildcats fans. Kevin Steen, Ted Mitchell, and Geevantay Gee all contributed seven.
Green said Oak Ridge’s defensive stops and transition breaks helped the Wildcats win. Although he’s more of a man-to-man coach, Green said the Wildcats used more zone play than they normally do because the Panthers struggled against it.
Green said Oak Ridge out-rebounded Powell by double digits, and he said he appreciated the great crowd and student section that turned out for the Friday night game.
Oak Ridge had its only district loss this season when it lost to Powell 51-56 on Dec. 3.
On Friday, Corey Hamilton of Powell scored 13, Alex Hill added 12, and Dallas Fields had 11.
The Wildcats next play the Halls Red Devils on Tuesday night at Halls.
Also Friday, the Oak Ridge Lady Wildcats (5-15, 4-6) ended a two-game win streak with a 60-25 loss to Powell. The Panthers (15-2) are undefeated in District 3, with a 10-0 record.
The girls’ game at Halls (10-9, 9-1) starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
The boys’ game at Halls (14-7, 8-3) begins at 7:30 p.m.
Here are a few more pictures from the boy’s game on Friday: