JACKSBORO—The Oak Ridge Lady Wildcats and Wildcats made the long trip to Campbell County Tuesday night for their matchup against the Lady Cougars and Cougars. While the boys rolled to an easy 78-47 victory, the girls came up just short of beating the Lady Cougars, losing 47-46 in a nail-biter.
Lady Wildcats stunned by Lady Cougars
The Oak Ridge Lady Wildcats (15-9, 10-3 District 3-AAA) were beaten last night by the Campbell County Lady Cougars 47-46 in a game that had the entire crowd on edge. The Oak Ridge crowd really seemed to be after the officials all night, as they made many questionable calls in the game.
“Those refs were brutal,” said one fan. “It seemed they were out to get us.”
Controversial calls aside, the Lady Wildcats just couldn’t muster up enough at the end to come back for the victory. The loss marks the 16th time in the schools’ series history that Campbell County has been victorious over the Lady Wildcats.
The Lady ‘Cats got off to a slow start in the first quarter, as the Lady Cougars (11-13, 7-6 district) jumped out to an early 22-13 lead. Campbell County hit four shots from beyond the arc, two of those courtesy of Kendra King, who scored all eight of her points in the first quarter.
The Lady Wildcats would go on a 13-4 run through the second quarter to tie the game at 26-26. A three by Jasmine Hembry with 1:52 to go gave the Lady Wildcats a 26-24 lead before the Lady Cougars knocked down a jumper to tie it at 26 apiece.
The Lady Wildcats came back from the break and shot the ball well throughout the third quarter. Courtney Ellison knocked down two threes in the third quarter, and that helped stretch the Lady Wildcat lead to 39-35.
Unfortunately, Oak Ridge just couldn’t hold onto the lead in the fourth quarter. Shots weren’t falling for the Lady Wildcats. With around 4:40 left in the game, Campbell County’s Olivia Brown knocked down a three to give the Lady Cougars a 44-41 lead. They wouldn’t look back from there, as they bested the Lady Wildcats 47-46.
A “disappointed” David Scott, head coach of the Lady Wildcats, said that his team must focus more on playing with a “better effort.”
“We’ll work on getting better shots, better passes, and being better teammates for sure,” Scott said. “We had a couple times where people didn’t wanna guard or didn’t come out like they should…Every two points mattered tonight.”
Mykia Dowdell led the Lady Wildcats in scoring last night with 18. Dowdell was 6-7 from the free-throw line. Ellison had 10 points. Hembry and Jaymi Golden both had five.
The Lady Wildcats next game will be against district rival Knox Central. Coach Scott is ready for his team to focus on the fundamentals.
“You gotta play every night,” Scott said. “You can’t play for 26 minutes or 24 minutes…Against Central, (we have to) correct the effort part, and we’ll go from there.”
The matchup against the Knox Central Lady Bobcats will take place at Wildcat Arena this Friday at 6 p.m. It will be one of two home games left for the Lady Wildcats. The last time these two teams played, the Lady Wildcats crushed the Lady Bobcats 62-37. The Lady Wildcats have lost to Knox Central only once in the programs’ histories.
Wildcats crush Cougars, keep 20-year winning streak alive
Oak Ridge hadn’t lost to the Campbell County Cougars since 1995 entering this game. The Wildcats came out slow against the Cougars at first, but Oak Ridge slammed the door in the second half to roll over the Cougars 78-47. The victory marked the 34th straight win against Campbell County for the Wildcats.
Neither team scored until more than two minutes into the game, when Oak Ridge finally scored a bucket. A constant back-and-forth by both teams gave the Wildcats a one-point lead after the first quarter.
The second half was somewhat slow for the Wildcats as well. However, after the Cougars made it 27-24, the Wildcats would go on another one of their famous runs, this time a 22-2 run that stretched through the third quarter. The Wildcats led 35-27 after the first half of play.
“We didn’t play like we’re capable (of playing),” head coach Aaron Green said. “I got after them a little bit (at halftime) from the standpoint of playing how we’re supposed to play…We’re constantly talking about having a championship mentality, and you’ve gotta play 32 minutes.”
The Wildcats (21-2, 13-0 District 3-AAA) came out after halftime on fire. Throughout the entire quarter, the Wildcats were on a 27-8 run. Seven different Wildcats scored in the third quarter. It was 62-35 with one quarter left to play.
The Wildcats wrapped the game up in the fourth quarter, scoring 16 points and diminishing any hopes the Cougars had of a comeback. The Wildcats would go on to win impressively 78-47 and stay undefeated in district play as well as the state of Tennessee.
“I think our guys know what we’re capable of,” Green said. “It starts at practice, and you gotta play for 32 minutes, and we’ll keep reaching that.”
Eleven Wildcats registered their names in the scorebooks last night. Javien Johnson and Geevanty Gee both had 12 points, which led the team. Anthony Gibson gave a nice boost off the bench with 11 points, including two big-time three-pointers. E.J. Bush contributed with eight points, and Darel Middleton came off the bench with seven.
Trey Torres led the Cougars (8-16, 5-8 district) in scoring last night with 22. Only six Cougars scored points in this game.
The Wildcats next game will take place at home this Friday immediately following the Lady Wildcat game. The Knox Central Bobcats will be coming to town to try to beat the regular season district champs on the Wildcats’ home court. The last time these two teams played, Oak Ridge handled the Bobcats 87-54 on Central’s home court.
“Central is properly the most improved team in our league,” Green said. “They’re just as athletic as we are, and they’ll be ready to go…Let’s let Knox Central know: Welcome to Oak Ridge and Wildcat Arena.”
Trenton Duffer is a sports writer at the University of Tennessee Daily Beacon and a freelance contributor to Oak Ridge Today.
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