Oak Ridge senior Tyshawn Young had another big night on Tuesday as the Wildcats gave Karns its first district loss of the season.
Last week, Young scored 29 points, a personal best, during a 64-56 win over Science Hill in the Arby’s Classic in Bristol on December 27.
On Tuesday, he almost matched that, scoring a game-high 27 points during a 97-68 win over Karns. He also had 16 rebounds.
“He’s playing really, really well,” Oak Ridge Coach Aaron Green said.
Young said he was surprised by his 29 points against Science Hill.
“We’ve always had the ability to play well,” Young said. “It’s not unexpected. I’ve just got to step up and play harder.”
Young and other players, including seniors Tajion Jones and Anthony Gibson, had been expected to step up during the Arby’s Classic last week because senior E.J. Bush has been sidelined with a knee injury and senior Tee Higgins was in Orlando for the Under Armour All-America Football Game on January 1.
That effort continued Tuesday. Jones had 18 points against Karns, and Gibson had 15.
Sophomore Joe Kesterson came off the bench to score 11 points in his first significant minutes, including on two three-point shots.
Asked about the contributions from bench players like Kesterson and sophomore Herbert Booker—who has been starting with Bush out—Gibson said: “It makes us feel good knowing we have players that can step it up and we can rely on.”
Higgins, who hasn’t played in a game since a 91-55 win at Gibbs on December 13, was back on Tuesday, scoring 14 points and pulling down 15 rebounds.
“He made his presence known on the glass,” Green said. The Wildcats (13-2, 6-0 District 3-AAA) had missed that with Bush and Higgins both out, Green said.
On Tuesday, Higgins’ mission was to take the ball to the rim and rebound—or drive and “crash the boards.”
“I did that,” Higgins said.
He gave credit to Young for the new mentality.
“He’s going up strong,” Higgins said. “That’ll help him get to the next level.”
Gibson said there’s still room for improvement—the Wildcats need to work on defense, he said—but “we’re getting there, one step at a time.”
In the past few years, Karns (12-2, 6-1) and Powell have consistently been among the most competitive boys’ teams that Oak Ridge has played. Green said the Beavers are talented, athletic, and they have a good offense.
Karns was led by Teahzjawon Hodge-Harper, who scored 22 points Tuesday. K.J. Hawkins had 16, and Isaiah Keeter had 14.
The Wildcats are now the only team with no district losses in District 3-AAA. While Karns has one, Powell has two, including a 78-68 loss to Oak Ridge on December 6.
Oak Ridge plays another district game at home against Halls (8-7, 4-2) on Friday, January 6. The girls’ game starts at 6 p.m., and the boys’ game begins at 7:30 p.m.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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