Note: This story was last updated at 1:55 a.m. Feb. 7.
Oak Ridge ends regular season at Fulton on Saturday
KARNS—The first game was a blowout. The second wasn’t.
In early January, the Oak Ridge Wildcats rolled over Karns 83-49.
But on Friday night, the Beavers kept it closer, pulling within one point (32-31) late in the second quarter.
But the Wildcats gave themselves a five-point cushion going into halftime and stretched their lead to 16 late in the third. Karns struggled to cut into the Wildcats’ double-digit lead throughout the fourth.
Oak Ridge won 74-61, ending the regular season undefeated (16-0) in District 3-AAA. “That’s a great accomplishment,” Wildcats Coach Aaron Green said.
He said it’s the first time in the five years that he’s coached in Oak Ridge that the Wildcats, who are 24-2 overall, have been undefeated in the district, although they’ve twice been 15-1.
The Wildcats were led Friday by the 21 points and 11 rebounds of junior forward Javien Johnson.
They will finish the regular season on Saturday with a non-conference game at Fulton (22-2, 10-0). Green said the Falcons are a well-coached team with good, athletic players. He said the game will probably be the best competition for the Wildcats since they played in the Chick-fil-A Invitational in Tucker, Georgia, near Atlanta after Christmas. (The Wildcats picked up their only two losses of the season there.)
After Saturday’s game, Oak Ridge will then play a week later in the district tournament on Saturday, February 14, at Knoxville Central, although it’s not clear yet who the Wildcats, the number one seed, will play.
Other top performers for the Wildcats against Karns (15-11, 9-7) on Friday were sophomore Tee Higgins—who had 18 points, 10 rebounds, and a one-handed dunk—and junior point guard Geevantay Gee, who had eight points and 10 assists. Senior guard Ted Mitchell scored 18 points and also had a one-handed dunk, following up on his two crowd-pleasing dunks at home against Gibbs on Tuesday.
Devin Harper of Karns led all scorers with 22 points. Jordan Coffin had 18 and Taylor Everett finished with 10.
Green said Karns had won six straight games and their last nine of 11 before their Friday night loss.
Karns Coach Lee Henson said the Beavers didn’t get enough second shots in the first half and got into too much of a hurry in the second, struggling to cut the Wildcats’ lead to less than 10.
While the boys’ game wasn’t a blowout Friday, the girls’ game was. The Lady Wildcats (18-9, 13-3) won 62-29.
Oak Ridge applied pressure, forcing the Lady Beavers (5-20, 4-12) to repeatedly make turnovers. Down 35-12 at the half, Karns also seemed to struggle to hit shots and pick up offensive rebounds in the second half.
“I think the quickness really got to them,” Oak Ridge Coach David Scott said. “Our pressure really got to them.”
He said Oak Ridge used many players Friday, and different members of the team stepped up.
Freshman Mykia Dowdell and sophomore Courtney Ellison each scored 12 points for the Lady Wildcats.
The Lady Wildcats will play in the district tournament at 6 p.m. Thursday at Central against the winner of the Gibbs-Clinton game.
Before then, though, the girls’ team will travel to Fulton (16-8, 7-2) on Saturday for the last regular-season game. The girls’ game starts at 6 p.m., and the boys’ starts at 7:30 p.m.
More information will be added as it becomes available.