Freshman post Mykia Dowdell scored 27 points for Oak Ridge as the Lady Wildcats opened up a large lead in the second half of a 82-41 win over the Halls Lady Red Devils on Friday night.
The game was closer at halftime, when the Lady Wildcats were up 30-24. Dowdell led all scorers then with 11 points.
But Oak Ridge’s rebounding and defense improved in the second half, and the teamwork was better, Oak Ridge coach David Scott said. The Lady Wildcats scored 52 points in the second half alone.
Other leading scorers on Friday were Caelyn Thompson with 14 points, Princess Bates with 12, Courtney Ellison with 10, Jas Hembry with nine, and Destiny Kassner with seven.
Halls was led by Katelyn Cantrell with 24 points and Taylor Moon with 11.
It was the second district win for the Lady Wildcats, who are now 6-3 overall and 2-1 in District 3-AAA.
Oak Ridge picked up its first district win on Monday night against Clinton. The Lady Wildcats had three players who scored in double digits in that 62-40 win: Thompson with 14, and Bates and Ellison with 11 each.
The one district loss for the Lady Wildcats came earlier this week against Powell, a game decided on free throws in the final few seconds.
It had been a low-scoring game at halftime, with Oak Ridge holding a 14-11 lead. The Lady Panthers took the lead early in the second half and held it for most of the next two quarters. But the Lady Wildcats fought back and took a 30-29 lead with 3:55 remaining on a steal and layup by Bates.
The game was briefly tied at 33 with 29 seconds left before Dowdell hit two three throws to make it 35-34 in favor of Oak Ridge with 6.4 seconds remaining.
But the Lady Panthers answered with two free throws of their own with one second left to give Powell the 36-35 victory.
Oak Ridge plays its fourth district game at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Anderson County.
In other games this season, the Lady Wildcats lost to Maryville 34-63, but went on to beat Oneida and Sweetwater. Here are write-ups by Scott of those two games:
Lady Wildcats 75, Sweetwater 25
The Oak Ridge Runnin Lady Wildcats were victorious on Friday afternoon (November 28) in the Oliver Springs Thanksgiving Tournament. The Lady Wildcats got out of the gate quickly, as they were ahead 21-2 after one period with Mykia Dowdell and Jas Hembry both with five points.
The Lady Wildcats scored 26 in the second quarter with Mykia Dowdell scoring eight, Princess Bates five, and Emily Brewer with four.
In the third quarter, Amara Howard tallied nine strong points in the paint.
The leading scorers for the Lady Wildcats were Dowdell with 15 points and six steals, Amara Howard with 14, Princess Bates with 10, Caelyn Thompson with nine, and Emily Brewer and Jasmine Hembry with eight each.
The leading rebounders were Howard with her first 10-rebound game, and Bates with nine rebounds and five steals.
Oak Ridge 57, Oneida 55
Jas Hembry—13 points total, including three three-point shots
Princess Bates –8
The Lady Wildcats played the Oneida Indians on Tuesday night (November 25) in the Oliver Springs Thanksgiving Tournament.
The Lady Wildcats got out to a two-point lead at the end of one quarter, but at halftime were down by eight.
At one point in the third quarter, they were down 14.
But the Runnin Lady Wildcats then went on a run sparked by their pressure defense that had struggled early on and had breakdowns, which gave the Indians several easy baskets. Oak Ridge was able to create turnovers and easy baskets. The pressure was led by Princess Bates, Mykia Dowdell, and Caelyn Thompson.
The Lady Wildcats were able to quickly cut into the lead, and with three minutes left in the game, it was a four-point game.
The Lady Wildcats then took the lead after some more energetic defensive plays. The Wildcats had very balanced scoring and had several players step up and make defensive plays and shots down the stretch.
“I was pleased that the group as a whole never gave up,” Scott said. “We made some very correctable mistakes with our defense, but that will get better as the season progresses. We had some players who didn’t play well the first almost-three quarters of the game make plays and get our TEAM going.
“We know that at some point our defensive pressure will create opportunities for us to make a run and cause the opponents to make mistakes. The balanced scoring was a very good thing to see. We will get back after it in practice today and work on our rebounding and defensive rotations.”
Scott said that the two victories were good to get but more importantly—”We got to work on some key areas like rebounding, defense, and our presses. We also discussed and worked on our overall approach to games and being ready to play while having a mentality of confidence and being relaxed.
Scott urged fans to get out and support this young group “because they play an exciting style of basketball and play very hard.” All of the varsity games start at 6 p.m.