Note: This story was last updated at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 20.
The Oak Ridge Wildcats repeated as district champions with a 61-43 win over Halls on Wednesday.
And, for the second year in a row, Jaylin Henderson was named most valuable player in the District 3-AAA tournament.
Oak Ridge Coach Aaron Green said he was very proud of the boys’ basketball team, which includes six seniors.
“To be district champs is a huge accomplishment,” Green said.
The Wildcats (27-6) will next play Farragut, a 10-17 District 4 team, at home in the first round of the regional tournament at 7 p.m. Saturday. The regional tournament games are “win or go home,” Green said.
Halls got off to a strong start at Powell on Wednesday—they led Oak Ridge 32-29 at halftime—but the smaller Red Devils ran out of steam in the second half. Junior guard Braxton Moore, who led Halls in scoring, knocked down a trio of three-point shots for the Red Devils and had 11 points in the first half, but he only scored three in the second.
Green said defense and rebounding, especially in the second half, were key for the Wildcats. There were a few lead changes in the first half, but Oak Ridge regained it early in the second and then widened it.
He wanted the boys to play better than they did against Powell on Monday, when they trailed for most of the game but managed a buzzer-beating 69-67 comeback win in overtime.
“Defense in the second half was the difference,” Green said of the game against Halls on Wednesday.
Oak Ridge also beat Halls during the regular season, winning 67-51 on Jan. 21.
Senior forwards Isaac Merian and Kevin Steen of the Wildcats were named all-tournament on Wednesday, along with eight other players from Campbell County, Clinton, Halls, Karns, and Powell.
Henderson scored 19 on Wednesday, Merian added 18, and Steen contributed 8. Merian also had several big blocks as well as a productive night of rebounding and a wide-open two-handed dunk in the fourth quarter that fired up Wildcats fans in the packed Powell gym.
Caelyn Thompson of the Lady Wildcats was named girls’ all-tournament, joining players from Anderson County, Campbell County, Gibbs, Halls, and Powell. Shea Coker of Powell was named most valuable player in the District 3-AAA girls’ basketball tournament.
The Lady Wildcats lost 22-42 to Anderson County in a district tournament game on Saturday.
More information will be added as it becomes available.