The Oak Ridge Lady Wildcats and Wildcats battled the Knox Central Lady Bobcats and Bobcats on Friday night in Wildcat Arena. Both sets of Wildcats left their home stage victorious against their district rivals on Autism Awareness Night.
Lady Wildcat head coach David Scott discussed Autism Awareness Night and its significance after the game.
“It’s part of our responsibility to get the word out,” Scott said. “We’ve been blessed in Oak Ridge. We have some great teachers and therapists…It’s (autism) a number that’s going up and not going down. The more word we can get out there that the autism spectrum is so large…There’s a lot to it, and no two are the same. Anytime we can get the word out, we appreciate that opportunity. To have people respond really means a lot to us.”
At the halftime of each game, fans were encouraged to come down to the court and pay $1 for a half-court shot contest. These proceeds are going to autism awareness foundations.
Lady Wildcats keep Lady Bobcats winless with physical play
The Lady Wildcats of Oak Ridge improved to 88-1 all-time against the Knox Central Lady Bobcats (0-22, 0-14 District 3-AAA) on Friday night by defeating Central 64-26. Oak Ridge could do no wrong in this game.
Oak Ridge (16-9, 11-3) jumped out to a 13-0 lead early in the first quarter while the Lady Bobcats threw up miss after miss. The Lady Wildcats had a 17-5 lead after one quarter of play. A similar performance in the second quarter helped push the Lady Wildcats’ lead up to 31-11.
“It’s kind of a game where you wanna do things the right, take care of your business, and have some focus points, and I think our girls did that,” Coach Scott said. “I was really pleased with that.”
Oak Ridge came out after halftime firing on all cylinders, as the Lady Wildcats went on a 21-4 throughout the entire third quarter. It was 52-15 heading into the fourth quarter.
Coach Scott put in some of his bench players to earn some valuable minutes late in this game. The Lady Wildcats boosted their lead 38 points by the time this one was said and done. The final was Oak Ridge 64, Central 26.
“We had some people step up,” Scott said. “I thought we came out with better focus and ready to get after it. That’s all we can ask for.”
Caelyn Thompson led the Lady Wildcats in scoring with 14 points—eight of those coming in the final quarter. Amara Howard had 13 in this game. Jasmine Hembry finished with eight points, including two of the team’s three treys. Destiny Kassner, Princess Bates, and Mykia Dowdell all had six. The Lady Wildcats shot 84.6 percent (11-13) from the free throw line as a team against the Lady Bobcats.
The only member of Central’s team in double figures was Keeley Yearly, who had 11. Chalia Eldridge also contributed with seven points for the Lady Bobcats.
The Lady Wildcats’ next game will be a regular season home finale against the Gibbs Lady Eagles next Tuesday night at 6 p.m. Although no seniors are on the Lady Wildcat team, fans are encouraged to come out and support the Lady Wildcats one last time at home this year against a talented Gibbs team.
Wildcats outduel Bobcats, prepare for Senior Night
The Knox Central Bobcats (8-11, 5-9 District 3-AAA) came into Wildcat Arena hungry for a victory on Friday night. They fought valiantly, but the Wildcats’ stellar play inside helped them win the game 77-63. The game was a lot closer than the score showed.
Oak Ridge (22-2, 14-0) scored the first basket of the game before moving on to a 17-8 lead after one quarter of play.
The Wildcats had a lead as high as 26-10 through the second quarter before the Bobcats began building somewhat of a comeback. The Bobcats pulled to within seven with a couple of minutes left. However, as time expired in the first half, Tee Higgins dropped a deep three in the basket to give Oak Ridge the 34-24 lead. Higgins’ shot was nearly two feet behind the three-point arc.
After a back-and-forth third quarter, Oak Ridge led 57-42.
But in the fourth, things got dicey. With almost half of the fourth quarter over, Tee Higgins went up for a layup and came down hard on the court. The refs counted the basket, but they soon changed their decision and said the basket did not count. The Oak Ridge crowd was in a frenzy at this point, and, after much discussion, the refs decided to count the basket. However, the play didn’t matter in the end, as Oak Ridge fought to a 77-63 victory.
“I thought as a team they would challenge us, and they did,” Wildcat head coach Aaron Green said after the game. “Their record doesn’t show it, but they’re a very solid team.”
Javien Johnson had 17 points in this game, a team high. Geevanty Gee wasn’t far behind him with 16. Tee Higgins had 15 points in this game, including a stellar dunk from an assist by Gee in the fourth quarter. Darel Middleton came off the bench with 14 points.
Lonnie Jones led the Bobcats in scoring with 17 points, while Quamier Jones had 16. The Bobcats didn’t have a single three-pointer in this game.
“We get a double-digit win again, and they look at me like I’m crazy because I’m always on them. We’re always trying to get better,” Green said. “There are always mistakes on our end that we need to clean up.”
Green continued, “I told the guys tonight that sometimes my expectation level may be higher than (theirs)…You’ve gotta hold yourself to a higher standard, and make the expectations of you and your team higher.”
The Wildcats next game will be against Gibbs next Tuesday in Wildcat Arena immediately following the Lady Wildcats’ game. It will be Senior Night for Oak Ridge, as Ted Mitchell plays his final regular season home game for the Wildcats. This will be a regular season home finale for the Wildcats. Fans are highly encouraged to come out and see Mitchell play one more time on his home court.
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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