Note: This story was last updated at 8:15 a.m.
David Crockett denied Oak Ridge a fourth consecutive trip to the state basketball tournament on Monday with 11 three-point shots, including a winning three-pointer by senior Patrick Good with 3.5 seconds left in overtime, and the 17 second-half points of senior Dustin Day.
It was the second time the two teams have met this year. Both games went into overtime and were decided on less than three points, and David Crockett won both. The first game was during the regular season, when the two teams combined to make 30 three-point shots, and the second was during a Class AAA sectional at Wildcat Arena on Monday. Good scored the winning baskets in both games.
After their 73-70 overtime win in the sectional game on Monday, the Pioneers (30-5) advance to the state tournament for the first time in the 44-year history of the program.
“They don’t get much tougher than that,” Oak Ridge Coach Aaron Green said after the three-point overtime loss.
The Wildcats (34-3) were led by the 20 points of junior E.J. Bush, who had a great post-season. Junior Tee Higgins scored 17, had two three-pointers, and led the Wildcats in rebounding. Senior Javien Johnson, playing in his last game at Wildcat Arena, had 15 points.
Good had a game-high 29 points—including six three-pointers, a tying three-pointer in regulation time, and the game-winner in overtime—and Day scored 26, with 12 of those on four three-point shots.
“Everybody can shoot threes on our team,” Day said. “Just pick your poison.”
“It’s what we do,” David Crockett Coach John Good said. “We don’t have a lot of inside presence.”
The Wildcats made it to the state quarterfinals in 2013, finished as state runner-up in the Class AAA championship game in 2014, and were eliminated in the quarterfinals in 2015. The Class AAA sectional on Monday was an elimination game, meaning the season is over for the Wildcats, who finished with 34 wins, the most ever for an Oak Ridge boys team.
The Wildcats had a chance to tie the game at the end of the four-minute overtime on Monday on a three-point shot by Johnson at the buzzer. Oak Ridge executed well, Johnson got a great look and took a good shot, and the ball almost went in, Green said. But almost didn’t count.
“We did everything we could,” Johnson said. “Sometimes the ball doesn’t fall for Oak Ridge.”
Green said the Wildcats knew they would have to defend Good, who averages 25-26 points per game.
But they didn’t do a good enough job against Day, Green said.
“I thought Day was the difference in the game,” he said. “I told the guys the last two days that I thought Day would be the ‘X factor.'”
Oak Ridge led most of the game and had a 10-point lead late in the second quarter and again late in the third. But Good and Day helped the Pioneers rally back from their deficits. In the third quarter, the Pioneers were down 56-46 with 2:49 remaining when Day knocked down three consecutive three-pointers and made two free throws to narrow the Oak Ridge lead to 62-57 with 19.1 seconds left in the quarter. Day’s 15 points answered seven straight points by Higgins.
Good tied the game at 68 with 2:46 remaining in the fourth quarter and hit the winning three-pointer from near the right baseline with 3.5 seconds left in overtime. Green said he thought the Wildcats played great defense on that last shot, and Good had to shoot over Oak Ridge and going to his right.
“I don’t think we could have guarded better,” Green said. “Good just took a heck of a shot.”
Senior Geevantay Gee and junior Tajion Jones added eight points each for Oak Ridge on Monday, and 6-foot-7 senior Brendan Coleman, who led the Pioneers in rebounding, had 11 points for David Crockett.
The Pioneers were one of only two teams to beat the Wildcats this season.
In another Class AAA sectional in East Tennessee on Monday, Karns lost to Science Hill 71-48, and the Hilltoppers also advanced to the state tournament quarterfinals, which start a week from Wednesday in Murfreesboro.
In Class AA, CAK is headed back to the state tournament for the first time in 11 years after they went on the road and knocked off Elizabethton 74-62. Fulton is also headed back to state as they held off Greeneville 60-56.
In Class A, Grace Christian looks to build on its semifinal appearance at state last year after they handled Cosby on Monday 72-48. Hampton advanced to the state tourney with a 67-61 win over Meigs County.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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