CLINTON—Oak Ridge junior Tee Higgins scored a game-high 20 points and senior Javien Johnson was named MVP as the Wildcats won the District 3-AAA championship in an 88-62 victory over Karns on Tuesday.
Coach Aaron Green said the Wildcats (31-2) had 13 offensive rebounds in just the first half. Junior E.J. Bush had a career-high 14 rebounds through both halves. Higgins had 12, including nine at the half, and Johnson pulled down eight.
“Rebounding was phenomenal,” Green said. “I thought we played really well, especially on defense in the first half.”
Johnson and junior Tajion Jones each scored 18 points for Oak Ridge. Bush added 10. Jones scored 13 of his 18 points in the third quarter.
Johnson, who has been playing with more intensity recently, said he knew he was capable of being named the most valuable player of the District 3-AAA tournament, which was played at Anderson County High School.
“As a senior, I have no more chances to win it all,” Johnson said. “So I will continue to play as hard as I can, and do as much as I can for my team!”
The Wildcats seem to be having fun playing as a team and appear to be working hard on rebounding.
“We’re trying to find our groove to make our deep post-season run,” Johnson said.
It was the third time the Wildcats beat Karns (20-7) this season.
At halftime on Tuesday, Oak Ridge had held the Beavers to about 35 percent shooting, which Green considers a sign of good defense.
“We did a good job of guarding, especially in the first half,” he said.
It’s the fourth year in a row the Wildcats have been named district champions, although last year’s title comes with an asterisk because it came by default after the game was snowed out.
“You really can’t take for granted a district championship,” Green said. “They’re not easy to get.”
The Beavers were led against Oak Ridge on Tuesday by junior Taylor Everett, who had 13 points. Junior Quincey Sibley scored 12, and senior Devin Harper had 11.
Higgins, who finished with four three-pointers, made back-to-back three-point shots in the second quarter that helped open up a 35-19 halftime lead over Karns.
Oak Ridge, the top seed in District 3, will play Farragut (19-11), the number four seed in District 4, in a Region 2-AAA elimination quarterfinal game at home at Wildcat Arena at 7 p.m. Saturday, February 27.
The Oak Ridge Lady Wildcats also won a District 3-AAA championship on Tuesday, and they will play an elimination quarterfinal game at home against Heritage at 7 p.m. Friday, February 26. The boys and girls teams both finished the season with an undefeated 16-0 record in the district. It’s the first time the Oak Ridge boys and girls have both gone undefeated in the district in the same season.
In the other two boys’ games Saturday in Region 2:
Maryville (21-6), the number three seed in District 4, will play at Karns, the District 3 runner-up, at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Central (20-11), the number four seed in District 3, will play at Heritage (22-12), the District 4 champion.
Powell (21-10), the number three seed in District 3, will play at Bearden (13-13), the District 4 runner-up.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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