Note: This story was last updated at 10:25 a.m. Dec. 31.
Oak Ridge lost an Arby’s Classic tournament game on free throws on Tuesday, and then won one on free throws on Wednesday. The Wildcats beat last year’s Arby’s Classic champion on Wednesday to play for fifth place in Bristol on Thursday.
Oak Ridge junior Tee Higgins hit two free throws with 2.4 seconds remaining to beat North Mecklenburg of North Carolina, 56-54, in the 2015 Arby’s Classic. North Mecklenburg was the champion in the 2014 Arby’s Classic.
Higgins, a University of Tennessee football commit who had a one-handed dunk early in the third quarter, finished with 11 points. Junior Tajion Jones, who had a three-pointer in each of the first three quarters, scored 11 for the Wildcats. Higgins pulled down five rebounds and had three assists, while Jones had four rebounds and a block. Senior Geevantay Gee had 10 points, two rebounds, and two assists for Oak Ridge.
Oak Ridge will play for fifth place in this year’s Arby’s Classic against the winner of a Wednesday afternoon game between Urspring, Germany, and Taylor County, Kentucky. (Thursday, December 31 update: Oak Ridge will play Taylor County.) The fifth-place game starts at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, December 31.
The Wildcats lost a thrilling double-overtime second-round quarterfinal game for the championship on Tuesday on free throws, falling 87-85 to the David Crockett Pioneers of Jonesborough, Tennessee. Senior point guard Patrick Good of the Pioneers won that game, which featured a combined 30 successful three-point shots, on two free throws with 2.6 seconds left in the second four-minute overtime.
Oak Ridge and North Mecklenburg traded scoring runs several times on Wednesday. The Wildcats scored seven straight in the first quarter, followed by 13 straight for the Vikings, then seven straight for Oak Ridge.
The Wildcats had buzzer-beaters in the first two quarters. One was a three-point shot by Jones in the first quarter, and the second was a three-pointer by senior point guard Geevantay Gee to tie the game at 28 at halftime.
Oak Ridge scored 12 straight in the fourth quarter, but North Mecklenburg responded with seven straight.
Jaylen McManus, a 6-foot-7 senior, tied the game for the Vikings on the first of two free throws with 7.7 seconds left in the game, but he missed the second go-ahead shot. A last-second shot at the buzzer, after Higgins hit the two late free throws, fell short for North Mecklenburg, and the Wildcats held on for the win.
Davion Mintz led the Vikings with 15 points, eight rebounds, and two assists. But he also had six turnovers. Kendall Coles had 10 points and two rebounds for North Mecklenburg.
See the Arby’s Classic tournament bracket here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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