The Oak Ridge Wildcats finished fifth in the 2015 Arby’s Classic basketball tournament with a 91-73 win over Taylor County, Kentucky, in Bristol on Thursday.
The Wildcats had been bumped into a consolation bracket in this year’s tournament after they lost to David Crockett of Jonesborough, 87-85, in a double-overtime second-round game on Tuesday. They advanced to the fifth-place game with a 56-54 win on Wednesday over North Mecklenburg of North Carolina, the 2014 Arby’s Classic champion.
Oak Ridge junior Anthony Gibson led the Wildcats (17-1, 5-0 District 3-AAA) with 22 points on Thursday and 100 percent shooting from the free throw line. Junior Tee Higgins added 20 points, and he pulled down eight rebounds and had five assists and two steals. He also got the crowd on its feet with two dunks in the second half.
The Wildcats had three other players in double digits: senior forward Javien Johnson with 17 points (seven rebounds, one assist); junior guard E.J. Bush with 13 (six rebounds, two blocks, one assist); and junior guard Tajion Jones with 12 (six rebounds, four assists, one block, and one steal).
The duo of David Sloan and Quentin Goodin combined to score 61 points for Taylor County. Sloan had 31 of those, a game high. Goodin had 11 rebounds and four assists.
Taylor County led most of the first quarter, but Oak Ridge took the lead on a three-point shot by Jones with about 22 seconds remaining.
The Wildcats held on to the lead through the next three quarters, but Goodin pulled the Cardinals to within one point, 68-67, with 5:56 left in the game. But Oak Ridge outscored Taylor County 23-6 in the last six minutes to take the win.
The Wildcats had 20 assists, compared to six for Taylor County, and only six turnovers, compared to 13 for the Cardinals.
Oak Ridge attempted 10 more field goals (33-of-63) and made 10 more than Taylor County (23-of-53).
“There’s not much secret we’ve got some pretty good players,” Oak Ridge Coach Aaron Green told the Bristol Herald Courier. “We’ve got a real good group here…I think a couple of things for us is: Number one, we’ve got guys that commit to playing really, really hard, and number two, they commit to playing very, very unselfish. We’ve got guys that care about each other and play for each other. They put their egos aside.”
Oak Ridge senior guard Geevantay Gee told the newspaper that the tournament will help the Wildcats improve.
“What we’re shooting for is the state championship,” said Gee, who had six assists, one rebound, and one steal. “This will help us a lot.”
Tift County, Georgia finished second, and St. James School of Maryland finished third. David Crockett finished fourth after going into seven overtime periods in four games over five days.
Coming in sixth was Father Henry Carr Catholic of Toronto, which eliminated Christian Academy of Knoxville in an earlier game. See the 2015 Arby’s Classic tournament bracket here.
The Wildcats won three of their four games in the tournament. Oak Ridge beat Dobyns-Bennett 81-35 in a first-round game on Saturday.
The Wildcats play next at Karns (9-3, 5-1 District 3-AAA) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 5.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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