The Oak Ridge Wildcats, who are undefeated in their district, won the regular-season district championship on Friday and will enter the basketball playoffs as the top seed.
The Wildcats (26-2, 14-0 District 3-AAA) will also automatically get a spot in the Region 2 tournament, Coach Aaron Green said.
Oak Ridge played Karns again on Friday. That game was not as close as the last meeting between the two teams, when the Wildcats escaped with a 72-68 win. In that January 5 game, the Beavers whittled the lead down to two points, 70-68, with 1:04 remaining, and they had a chance to tie the game or even take the lead with about 35 seconds left.
The second game, at Wildcat Arena on Friday, February 5, was competitive, but Oak Ridge maintained a healthy lead through most of it, often leading by 10 points or more. They were up by 13 points, 43-30, at halftime, and widened the lead in the fourth quarter to finish with an 86-60 win.
Oak Ridge has two district games remaining. The first had been scheduled for Tuesday, January 9, at Halls (6-19, 2-12), but it has been postponed to Wednesday. The second is at Campbell County (14-12, 5-9) on Friday.
The Wildcats will end their regular season at home in a highly anticipated game against Fulton on Saturday. The Oak Ridge-Fulton game last year was a classic, with Tee Higgins, who was then a sophomore, hitting a three-point shot with 3.1 seconds left to give Oak Ridge a one-point victory. Fulton has recently been ranked second in Class AA, while Oak Ridge has been ranked seventh or eighth in Class AAA.
Higgins led the Wildcats against Karns on Friday, scoring 19 points, with three of those three-point shots, and pulling down 11 rebounds. Juniors Tajion Jones and Tyshawn Young each scored 13. Young, who also had eight rebounds, started at forward, replacing senior Javien Johnson, who did not play Friday.
“He did well,” Green said of Young.
Junior guard E.J. Bush had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Wildcats, and senior point guard Geevantay Gee also scored 10, putting five Oak Ridge players in double digits.
Karns was led by senior Devin Harper, who had a game-high 21 points. Sophomore K.J. Hawkins also was in double digits, with 11 points.
“I felt better tonight,” Green said, when comparing the two games between the two teams this year. “I didn’t ever feel like our lead was in jeopardy.”
The Wildcats wanted to keep Karns out of the paint, which meant they gave up a few three-point shots, he said.
Oak Ridge held the Beavers to six points in the first quarter. The defense played really well, especially in that first quarter, Green said.
Behind Oak Ridge, the next three teams in the district standings are:
- Central—19-8 overall, 11-3 District 3-AAA
- Karns—17-6, 11-4
- Powell—16-8, 10-5
The Lady Wildcats also beat Karns for the second time this season on Friday. That game was a blowout, 61-19.
The first Oak Ridge-Karns girls game was also a blowout, 60-26. The Lady Wildcats held Karns scoreless in the third quarter of that January 5 game.
Oak Ridge was led on Friday by sophomore post Mykia Dowdell, who scored 16 points. Junior guard Courtney Ellison had 14, and freshman point guard Jada Guinn added 12.
Karns only had two players who scored, Trinity Fisher with 13 points and Lauren Sutton with six.
The Lady Wildcats are also undefeated in District 3-AAA, but one of their opponents this week, Campbell County, has only lost one district game. That was to Oak Ridge, meaning the Lady Cougars have a chance to even the series between the two teams this year. It’s not clear yet who might finish on top in the girls District 3-AAA standings.
Here are the standings for the top three girls teams:
- Oak Ridge—20-3, 14-0 District 3-AAA
- Campbell County—22-4, 13-1
- Powell—12-12, 11-4
The girls game at Halls starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The boys game begins at 7:30.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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