Note: This story was last updated at 5:52 p.m.
Sophomore Desiree Bates came off the bench to lead Oak Ridge with 12 points in a 40-35 quarterfinal win in the state Class AAA basketball tournament in Murfreesboro on Wednesday.
The Lady Wildcats (28-4) were up 10 points at halftime, and they bounced back from a 15-4 Dyer County run in the third quarter to advance to the semifinal game in Murfreesboro on Friday.
Dyer County had three consecutive steals midway through the third quarter that they converted into eight points, helping to turn a 26-14 deficit late in the second quarter into a 29-26 lead midway through the third.
Oak Ridge prevailed despite their 19 turnovers and the game-high 18 points of Amber Thompson. Thompson knocked down three three-pointers and ignited the third-quarter surge for the Lady Choctaws (27-5), but she picked up her fourth foul with three minutes remaining in that quarter and had to go sit on the bench.
Thompson gave Dyer County a four-point 34-30 lead early in the fourth quarter, but Oak Ridge sophomore Jaymi Golden answered a few minutes later with a jumper, her only field goal of the game. That narrowed the Lady Wildcats’ deficit to two points, 34-32.
Later, with Dyer County stuck at 35, Oak Ridge went on an 8-0 scoring run in the last 3.5 minutes to finish out the game, with four points from sophomore Mykia Dowdell—her first points of the game—two from junior Courtney Ellison, and two from freshman Jada Guinn.
Dyer County, which is in west Tennessee north of Memphis, missed five three-point shots in the last 48 seconds, including one blocked by Oak Ridge senior Caelyn Thompson with 18 seconds left.
Guinn finished with 11 points for Oak Ridge. Thompson scored seven, and Ellison and Dowdell each had four.
In what was likely the best game of her high school career, Bates also had seven rebounds and three steals.
The Lady Wildcats finished with a 33-21 rebounding advantage. Dowdell pulled down eight rebounds for Oak Ridge, and like Bates, Guinn had seven.
Amber Thompson had six rebounds for Dyer County, and Olivia Crane had four.
It’s the first trip to the final four for the Lady Wildcats since 2008, and the first visit to state since 2010.
It was Dyer County’s first trip to the state tournament.
Haley Hicks scored eight points for the Lady Choctaws, and Crane had seven. Dyer County had 14 turnovers.
The Lady Wildcats will play Bradley Central at 11 a.m. Eastern time at the Murphy Center at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro on Friday.
Bradley Central (32-3), a Cleveland, Tennessee, team, beat Dickson County 57-54 in another Class AAA quarterfinal game on Wednesday.
See the bracket for the 2016 Class AAA State Girls Basketball Tournament—the BlueCross Basketball Championships—here.
See the Wednesday morning game stats here.
— TSSAA (@tssaa) March 9, 2016
More information will be added as it becomes available.
See more photos here.
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