Note: This story was last updated at 11:40 a.m. Dec. 30.
The Oak Ridge Wildcats lost their first basketball game of the season in a thrilling quarterfinal game that went into double overtime in the Arby’s Classic tournament in Bristol on Tuesday. It featured a combined 30 successful three-point shots. The final score was 87-85 in favor of the David Crockett Pioneers.
Oak Ridge junior Tajion Jones had a game-high 28 points and was credited with seven three-pointers, while junior Tee Higgins had 25 points and hit six three-pointers. Jones hit four of his seven three-point shots in the first quarter. The 6-foot-4 guard also finished with seven rebounds and one assist, and the 6-foot-5 Higgins had five rebounds and two steals.
It was a personal best for Jones, both in terms of total points scored and made three-pointers.
The Wildcats (15-1, 5-0 District 3-AAA) had 14 three-point shots total, while David Crockett (12-2, 2-0 District 1-AAA) had 16. That tied the single-game record of 16 set by Memphis White Station in 2003. The 15-0 start for Oak Ridge was the best in school history.
Oak Ridge and David Crockett, two top Class AAA teams that received a standing ovation at halftime after a flurry of three-pointers, made 21 three-point shots in the first half alone and shot an incredible 68 percent from beyond the arc (21 of 31). In comparison, the two teams shot 60 percent or less from two-point range in the first half.
Peyton Ford, who finished with 20 points, made six threes for David Crockett. He was 5-for-5 from behind the three-point line in the first half.
The Pioneers had five players scoring in double digits.
“We’ve got to guard better,” Wildcats Coach Aaron Green told the Bristol Herald Courier. “You’ve got to make teams miss shots. You can’t say they shot it well or hope they shoot it bad. We didn’t make them miss shots. They got too many open ones…I think the turnovers and guarding the three were the two glaring things that stood out. We can’t have the mindset of having to outscore people. We have to defend better. This game will help our guys realize that.”
The game was decided on two free throws by Patrick Good of the Pioneers with 2.6 seconds left in the second four-minute overtime. Good finished with 24 points.
“It was like a heavyweight fight in the middle of the ring,” Crockett coach John Good told the Johnson City Press. “Neither team deserved to lose. I’m just proud of our kids.”
Oak Ridge seniors Javien Johnson and Geevantay Gee scored 10 each for the Wildcats. Johnson also had 11 rebounds and one assist, while Gee had four rebounds and six assists.
Dustin Day finished with 11 points for David Crockett, and Josh Releford had 10.
It was the second double overtime of the tournament for David Crockett, which is in Jonesborough in upper East Tennessee, west of Johnson City. Good, a senior point guard, scored 35 points in the earlier double-overtime game, a first-round 82-79 win over the Cardinals of Mentor (Ohio) on Saturday.
David Crockett will move on to play Tift County (Georgia) in a semifinal game for the championship at 7 p.m. Wednesday, December 30. Tift County beat North Mecklenburg, North Carolina, the 2014 Arby’s Classic champion, in another quarterfinal game on Tuesday.
Oak Ridge will play North Mecklenburg in a semifinal game for fifth place at 12 p.m. Wednesday.
Oak Ridge was up 32-26 at the end of the first quarter on Tuesday and led by as many as 10 points in the first half against David Crockett. But the Pioneers scored the final seven points of the second quarter, and the Wildcats trailed 46-44 at halftime.
Oak Ridge was ahead again, 57-55, at the end of the third quarter, and the game was tied at 67 at the end of the fourth after a layup by Gee, a senior point guard.
Higgins hit three three-pointers in the second double overtime to tie the game at 85 with about 20 seconds left before Good broke the tie at the free throw line with 2.6 seconds remaining.
A subsequent steal by Brendan Coleman of the Pioneers, a 6-foot-7 senior post who finished with 14 points, nine rebounds, and four steals, killed any hopes of a final last-second shot for Oak Ridge.
Oak Ridge had 22 turnovers, compared to 10 for David Crockett, and 18 fouls, compared to 10 for the Pioneers.
The packed-house crowd at the Tuesday evening game was estimated at about 7,000. Fans said it was a game that will be talked about for years.
See the 2015 Arby’s Classic tournament bracket here.
See the Oak Ridge-David Crockett (Game 17) stats here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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