Note: This story was last updated at 12:35 a.m.
Oak Ridge junior Anthony Gibson scored a personal-high 21 points in an 82-67 win over Science Hill at Wildcat Arena on Saturday. Gibson also had five rebounds, four assists, and a steal for the undefeated Wildcats.
Oak Ridge led 50-32 at halftime against Science Hill on Saturday, but the Hilltoppers outscored the Wildcats 35-32 in the second half to narrow the lead. But it wasn’t enough to overcome the large first-half Wildcat lead.
“They’re a scrappy team,” Oak Ridge Coach Aaron Green said of the Hilltoppers. “They’ve got a good group. They play hard.”
Gibson, who hit three three-pointers, scored 10 of his points in the first quarter and 14 in the first half. His nickname is “Buckets,” and he showed why on Saturday.
“He’s a spark,” Oak Ridge Coach Aaron Green said.
Gibson has provided a lift to the Wildcats before, perhaps most memorably in a classic game against Fulton in Feburary, a game that Oak Ridge won on a three-point shot by Tee Higgins with 3.1 seconds left. The Wildcats got back into that game behind Gibson, who came off the bench to score 10 points in the first half and 13 on the night.
Gibson also came off the bench on Saturday to help lead Oak Ridge (14-0, 5-0 District 3-AAA) to a win. He said he practices shooting a lot in the morning and after school. The Wildcats have length and depth, and the players hustle, Gibson said. Besides being athletic, the team also features good shooters.
“It really gives us the edge,” Gibson said.
The Wildcats had four other players in double digits against Science Hill on Saturday, the second day of the two-day Rick McGill Toyota Classic. Junior Tee Higgins had 17, including two three-pointers and at least one block; junior Tajion Jones scored 14, including three three-point shots, and junior E.J. Bush added 10. Senior Javien Johnson also scored 10.
Jones now has 41 three-pointers this year, and Higgins has 29. Depending upon how deep Oak Ridge goes into the playoffs, Jones is on pace to break the single-season record of 101, which was set by Steve Younkin, according to broadcaster Lucas Forstrom of Prepradio.com.
Jones cited his practice routine for his shooting performance. Once he hits the three-point shots, that builds up confidence, he said. It helps that Oak Ridge has a number of players who can shoot well, he said.
In other highlights Saturday, Higgins had seven rebounds and four assists, Bush had six rebounds and two steals, Johnson had three rebounds and two assists, and Jones had two assists.
The Wildcats had a total of 20 assists, which is really good, Green said.
“We’re sharing the ball really well,” he said.
In the last four games, the Wildcats haven’t played real well in the first four or five minutes or the first quarter, but they’ve been able to wear down their opponents through depth, pace, pressure, and athleticism, Green said.
Science Hill (8-5, 2-0 District 1-AAA) was led Saturday by senior Chris Linville with 14, senior Peyton Wingate with 11, and juniors Bowden Lyon and Blake Grindstaff with 10 each.
Oak Ridge beat Dobyns-Bennett 88-36 in the Rick McGill Toyota Classic on Friday, when seven Wildcats scored from three-point range.
Oak Ridge will play Dobyns-Bennett again at 7 p.m. Saturday, December 26, in the Arby’s Classic at Viking Hall in Bristol.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
Copyright 2015 Oak Ridge Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.