GREENEVILLE—The Oak Ridge Lady Wildcats will play for the championship in a basketball tournament in Greeneville today (Saturday, December 31).
Oak Ridge (13-1, 5-0 District 3-AAA) will play Bradley Central, a team the Lady Wildcats beat 38-31 in the Class AAA state semifinal last season. Today’s championship game in the Andrew Johnson Bank Ladies Classic starts at 4:30 p.m. in the Hal Henard Gymnasium in Greeneville.
The Lady Wildcats advanced to the championship by winning three straight games in the tournament this week. That included a Friday night 51-41 semifinal victory over South Greene (14-2, 2-0 District 1-A). The Lady Rebels, a Greeneville team, were the Class A state champions last season, and they made it to the final game of the Ladies Classic last year.
Before South Greene on Friday, Oak Ridge defeated Jefferson County 57-50 in the opening round on Wednesday and Greeneville 69-50 in a quarterfinal game on Thursday.
The Bradley Central Bearettes (15-0, 3-0 District 5-AAA), of Cleveland, Tennessee, advanced to the championship with a 73-47 win over Morristown West, which won the championship last year, in the other semifinal game on Friday. Bradley Central also beat Dobyns-Bennett 67-34 in a quarterfinal game on Thursday, and they had a 61-42 victory over Daniel Boone in the opening round on Wednesday.
The Lady Wildcats have been led in scoring through the first three games of the tournament by sophomore Jada Guinn with 44 points. Juniors Jaymi Golden and Destiny Kassner each have 34 points, and junior Mykia Dowdell has 31. Senior Courtney Ellison has added 22 points, and junior Desiree Bates has contributed 11.
You can listen to today’s championship game at the Andrew Johnson Bank Ladies Classic in Greeneville on FM 92.7 and Prepradio.com. The Hal Henard Gymnasium is at 425 East Vann Road in Greeneville.
In the first game this week, against Jefferson County, Oak Ridge trailed 13-10 after the first quarter, and the game was tied at 28 at halftime. But after trailing by as many as seven points in the first half, the Lady Wildcats scored eight straight points to open up a 36-28 lead early in the third quarter.
However, Jefferson County rallied and tied the game at 39 at the end of the third quarter. After trading leads with the Lady Patriots early in the fourth quarter, Oak Ridge gained the lead for good with about four minutes left on its way to the 57-50 win.
Golden and Guinn each scored a game-high 18 points in that game. Kassner had 10, and Dowdell added eight. Half of Golden’s points were from three three-point shots. She was also 7-of-8 from the free throw line.
Jefferson County (12-4, 5-0 District 2-AAA) was led by Makaila Woolard with 17 points. Ryleigh Fritz scored 16, and Alexandria Alder had 12.
Oak Ridge had a 31-18 rebounding advantage in that Wednesday opening-round game.
On Thursday, five players scored 10 or more for the Lady Wildcats in the quarterfinal game against Greeneville (12-4, 3-0 District 2-AA). Guinn led with 16 points, Ellison had 15, Golden added 14, Dowdell contributed 11, and Kassner scored 10.
Greeneville was led by junior Sydni Lollar with 17 points, junior Leah Fillers with nine, and freshman Shevon Weems with seven.
Oak Ridge used defensive pressure to force turnovers. The Lady Wildcats had 15 steals, and many of those led to Lady Wildcat baskets, sometimes on back-to-back possessions.
Ahead by 22-14 after the first quarter, Oak Ridge widened its lead to 49-25 at halftime. The Lady Wildcats led by 25 points, 63-38, at the end of the third quarter and put in bench players in the fourth.
Oak Ridge shot better from two-point range (61.4 percent) and three-point range (44.4 percent) than Greeneville, which shot 41.5 percent from field goal range and 22.2 percent from three-point range.
The Lady Wildcats also had 19 assists, compared to eight for Greeneville. Oak Ridge also had a slight rebounding advantage, 24-22. Dowdell and Kassner had seven rebounds each. Lollar had a game-high eight.
Like they did in the opening round game on Wednesday, the Lady Wildcats trailed after one quarter during the semifinal game against South Greene on Friday. The score was 14-10 in favor of the Lady Rebels.
But Bates made back-to-back three-point shots to give Oak Ridge an 18-17 lead in the second quarter.
The Lady Wildcats had a slim 21-19 lead at halftime. As in the opening Jefferson County game on Wednesday, there were lead changes in the semifinal game against South Greene on Friday, and the score was again tied at the end of the third quarter, this time at 35.
But in the final quarter, Oak Ridge held South Greene scoreless until the final two minutes, taking a 45-35 lead with three minutes remaining.
Kassner led the Lady Wildcats with a game-high 14 points. Dowdell had 12, Guinn had 10, and Bates added nine. Dowdell had a game-high 12 rebounds, and Golden had five assists. Dowdell and Bates each had four steals.
The Lady Rebels had two players with 10 points each: Taylor Lamb and Morgan Williams. Lamb also had a team-high eight rebounds, and Williams had four steals.
Oak Ridge again shot better than its opponent: 52.5 percent compared to 30.2 percent from two-point range, and 50 percent to 36.4 percent from three-point range. The Lady Wildcats also had a rebounding advantage, 32-23.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
See the tournament bracket here.
See the live tournament statistics here.
See the tournament website here.
Do you appreciate this story or our work in general? If so, please consider a monthly subscription to Oak Ridge Today. See our Subscribe page here. Thank you for reading Oak Ridge Today.
Copyright 2016 Oak Ridge Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.