Note: This story was last updated at 11:55 p.m.
The Oak Ridge Wildcats won the regular season district championship in a 87-69 win over the Karns Beavers on Friday.
It was the second time this season the Beavers were able to chip away at a large Oak Ridge lead, again narrowing the deficit to one point, but the Wildcats used zone play and defensive stops to help maintain and then stretch out their lead.
The game featured 17 three-point baskets between the two teams—Karns had 11 of them—and three crowd-pleasing dunks by Wildcats, with one by senior guard Jaylin Henderson and two by senior forward Isaac Merian. Oak Ridge (25-5, 15-1 in District 3) led the entire game.
Both teams started the game 14-1 in the district.
Senior Devin Sibley of Karns, who is considered one of the best players in the league and has already signed with Furman University, scored 32. No other Karns player scored more than nine.
Meanwhile, Merian and junior guard Ted Mitchell, who had a series of high-flying layups and two three-point shots, each scored 19 for the Wildcats, and Henderson added 15.
It was the second time this season the Wildcats have prevailed over Karns (21-5, 14-2). Oak Ridge gave the Beavers their first district loss during a Jan. 11 game at Karns.
Oak Ridge and Karns both have byes in the playoffs, and the Wildcats will play their first tournament game at Powell on Saturday, Feb. 15. It’s not clear yet who they will play.
In the meantime, the Wildcats will finish up the regular season against Fulton, a non-district opponent, at home on Saturday.
Oak Ridge Coach Aaron Green said the Wildcats have won the regular season district championship in three of the past four years.
Earlier Friday, the Lady Wildcats (7-19, 6-10) beat Karns in a 67-45 victory. It’s the second win for the girls against the Beavers this year.
Coach David Scott said the defensive pressure applied by the Lady Wildcats bothered the Beavers (2-24, 2-13), and the girls tried to apply a more balanced approach to the game. Four players scored in double digits, a season high, Scott said. Courtney Ellison had 14 points, Asia Anderson scored 13, Caelyn Thompson added 11, and Rilee Walls contributed 10.
The Lady Wildcats had 10 offensive rebounds at halftime, and they forced a lot of turnovers.
The girls’ game against Fulton on Saturday starts at Wildcat Arena at 6:30 p.m., and the boys’ game begins at 8 p.m.
Scott said the girls will start the playoffs at Powell on Tuesday, although it’s not clear yet who they will play.
More information will be added as it becomes available.