In the first 2015 game at home for Oak Ridge, both teams had a familiar foe awaiting them: the Karns Beavers and Lady Beavers. Both sets of Beavers gave it their all, but neither could withstand the firepower of the Wildcats or Lady Wildcats.
The Oak Ridge Lady Wildcats had a tough time with their opponent for the first quarter of the game, but they soon woke up and clobbered the Lady Beavers of Karns by a score of 57-39. Early foul trouble by the Lady Beavers proved to doom them late in the game.
Karns came out of the gate and scored the first two points of the game. For the first six minutes, there would be seven lead changes and three ties. Both teams were back and forth, with neither one gaining the upper hand.
However, with a little more than two minutes left in the first quarter, Oak Ridge got rolling with a 9-2 run to end the quarter with a lead of 17-10.
Points slowly began coming in spurts for both teams. One team would get on a small run, then they would go dry, and the other team would go on a run of their own. Oak Ridge led the Lady Beavers by a score of 28-20 after the first half of play.
â€œWeâ€™re young, and Iâ€™m not gonna use that as an excuse, but we gotta be better than that,â€ head coach David Scott said.
Fouls were the story of the first half. In the first quarter alone, 21 fouls were committed by both teams. Twenty-seven fouls would be committed by the end of the first half, with 10 of those being from Oak Ridge. Mykia Dowdell scored six of her 16 first half points on free throws alone.
Both teams would score 10 points in the third quarter to make it 38-30. Late in the fourth quarter, Oak Ridge would go on one more run, this time marking a 7-1 run, to close out the game and snatch victory from the Lady Beavers 57-39.
â€œLetâ€™s not sugar coat it, we have some expectation, and we were up, we were downâ€¦It wasnâ€™t all bad, we got the winâ€¦Where we wanna be and where weâ€™ve played lately, weâ€™ve had some disappointing moments,â€ Scott said.
Dowdell led the team in scoring with 24 in this district game. Caelyn Thompson had 10, and Courtney Ellison had 6. With the victory, the Lady Wildcats move to 11-8 Â and 7-1 in District 3-AAA, and they also move a half a game into first in the district. The win also improves the Lady Wildcatsâ€™ record against Karns to 80-12 since 1975.
The Lady Wildcatsâ€™ next varsity game will be next Tuesday at home against rival Clinton at 6 p.m.
After the ladies, the Oak Ridge Wildcats took the court and jumped all over the Beavers from the beginning, going on to win the game in blowout fashion 83-49. A barrage of dunking by the Wildcats slammed the door shut on any Beaver momentum.
The Wildcats opened up the first quarter on a 9-2 run before slowly edging away from the Beavers in the first quarter. A dunk by Tee Higgins got the crowd rowdy, and, before anyone could blink, Oak Ridge had a 22-8 lead.
That lead just seemed to open up more and more, as Javien Johnsonâ€™s stellar second quarter dunk helped bring the crowd to its feet and the Beavers to their knees. A 43-20 lead at halftime was more than the Beavers could handle. Ted Mitchellâ€™s 11 points and Javien Johnsonâ€™s 10 helped cushion the Wildcatsâ€™ lead.
â€œWe forced 13 turnovers in the first half, which I felt was key to stretching the lead out,â€ head coach Aaron Green said.
The second half was much of the same for the Wildcats: domination on both ends of the court. Johnson would add another dunk to his repertoire. That dunk sparked a six-point outburst by the Wildcats that only took a span of 20 seconds. After three quarters of play, it was 65-36 Wildcats.
â€œOne of our strengths is weâ€™re really unselfish,â€ Green said. â€œWe share the ball, and that was on display tonight.”
The Beavers scored 13 points in the fourth quarter against the Wildcats, while Oak Ridge scored 18, their lowest during the four quarters played. But it didnâ€™t matter. The Wildcats walked away from this one clean 83-49.
Ted Mitchell led the Wildcats in scoring with 21. Javien Johnson wasnâ€™t far behind him with 16. E.J. Bush and Geevanty Gee were the only other two Wildcats in double digits. Bush had 12, and Gee had 11, respectively.
â€œI thought we played hard for extended periods of time,â€ Green said. â€œKarns is a very good offensive team, and we held them to 49.â€
With the victory, the Wildcats move up to 16-2 (8-0 district), and the win marks the 78th time that Oak Ridge has defeated Karns. The Beavers have only bested the Wildcats 27 times in the schoolsâ€™ histories.
â€œWe had a great crowd here tonight,â€ Green added. â€œWe play the cross-town rivals next Tuesday, and I wanna see this place full and rockinâ€™!â€
The Wildcatsâ€™ next varsity game will be next Tuesday against Clinton immediately following the Lady Wildcat game at 6.
Trenton Duffer is a sports writer at the University of Tennessee Daily Beacon and a freelance contributor to Oak Ridge Today.