Note: This story was last updated at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 21.
The Oak Ridge Wildcats boys’ basketball team started the season 14-0 for the first time after a one-point overtime win over the Dobyns-Bennett Indians in Kingsport on Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore guard E.J. Bush had a game-winning layup with about three seconds left in the four-minute overtime period, giving the Wildcats a 68-67 win. Bush, who ended the night with 13 points, scored all seven of the Wildcats’ points in overtime, after starters Geevantay Gee and Tee Higgins and junior center Darel Middleton had fouled out.
Oak Ridge was led by Gee, a junior point guard who scored 20 points, and Higgins, a sophomore shooting guard and small forward who had 14.
Oak Ridge Coach Aaron Green said the undefeated Wildcats didn’t play with enough energy in the first half. The Indians led most of the first two quarters and were ahead 36-32 at halftime.
“We started the game coasting,” Green said.
But Oak Ridge was able to battle back in the second half, and the two teams traded the lead several times before they tied the game 61-61 at the end of the fourth quarter.
Senior Devin Stuart led the Indians with 16 points, and senior Makale Foreman had 14. Foreman had a clutch off-balance three-point shot that tied the game at 66 with 34.3 seconds left in overtime. Stuart had two free throws in overtime and a steal that helped give the Indians a one-point lead right before Bush’s game-winning basket.
Bush hit three free throws in overtime and two field goals, moving the Wildcats from a 61-61 tie to the 68-67 win.
Green said he thought Dobyns-Bennett outplayed Oak Ridge and was more physical and aggressive. The 14-0 Wildcats, who struggled at the free throw line on Saturday, are going to “have a target on our back every night.”
The Saturday afternoon win at the two-day Premier Equipment Shootout at Buck Van Huss Dome in Kingsport was the closest for the Wildcats since they beat Maryville 62-61 on November 18.
The Lady Wildcats’ game was not as close. In that game, Oak Ridge fell to Dobyns-Bennett 66-48.
The Lady Indians were led by point guard Sasha Morrisette, the team’s all-time leading scorer. Morrissette scored 28. Lauren Salyer added 17.
Top scorers for the young Lady Wildcats, who were playing without Caelyn Thompson, were Mykia Dowdell with 16 and Princess Bates with 11.
Coach David Scott said the Oak Ridge players fought hard the whole game.
The Lady Wildcats lost to Science Hill 58-36 in the Friday night game at the Premier Equipment Shootout. The Lady Wildcats are 9-5 overall and 5-1 in District 3-AAA.
The boys beat Science Hill 67-43 on Friday. Sophomore guard DeAndre Gibson had five three-pointers in that game.
In other recent games, the boys’ team beat Knox Central 87-54 on Monday, beat Campbell County 80-56 on December 12, and beat Anderson County 64-35 on December 9. The Wildcats are 6-0 in District 3-AAA.
The girls also beat Knox Central, Campbell County, and Anderson County, by 62-37, 70-47, and 62-53, respectively.
Note: We want to acknowledge the help of the Prepradio.com crew, including Alex Myers, Lucas Forstrom, and David Clary. We use information from their broadcast with their permission. Prepradio.com covers Oak Ridge football and basketball. Contact Clary at [email protected] if you’d like to help sponsor their broadcasts.