Note: This story was updated at 1 p.m. Jan. 16.
JACKSBORO—The Oak Ridge Wildcats tied a school record with 15 made three-point shots during a 94-57 win at Campbell County on Tuesday.
“You don’t make 15 threes a lot,” Oak Ridge Coach Aaron Green said.
Wildcats senior Tee Higgins had a season-high and game-high 21 points. Five of those were three-point shots, with four in the third quarter.
Before Tuesday, Higgins only had four made three-point shots this season, according to Wildcats broadcaster David Clary. Higgins missed some games early in the season because he wasn’t initially going to play basketball in order to focus on football, and he has missed some games midway through the season due to football-related commitments.
“He can shoot the ball really well,” Green said of Higgins.
A lot of shooting is confidence, Green said. Once you make a few, the basket starts to look bigger, he said.
Besides his 21 points, Higgins also had eight rebounds and 12 deflections.
Junior Levert Smith also had a season high at Campbell County on Tuesday. He scored 19 points, with nine of those on three-point shots. Smith also had six assists.
“We spread it around,” Green said.
Senior Tajion Jones scored 17 for Oak Ridge, the only undefeated team in District 3-AAA, and he made three three-pointers. Jones became the 21st Wildcat to score 1,000 points in their career, according to Clary.
Campbell County Coach Matt Housley said the Cougars played hard early against Oak Ridge (15-2, 8-0 District 3-AAA). The team wanted to force the Wildcats to take contested shots. Oak Ridge shot 6-for-16 from three-point range in the first half and 9-of-11 in the second, Housley said.
“You can’t take away every shot they take,” Housley said. “They took the shots that we gave them, and they made us pay.”
He said the Cougars (12-8, 2-6) gave up too many scoring spurts, including 9-0 and 12-0 runs.
The Oak Ridge boys were ranked number two in the state in Class AAA going into the game.
The first half was competitive, with the Cougars taking an early 5-2 lead and trailing by only two, 20-18, at the end of the first quarter.
But led by Smith with seven points, the Wildcats outscored Campbell County 18-9 in the second quarter to take a 40-27 halftime lead.
They expanded the lead to 68-45 behind the 14 points of Higgins in the third quarter.
Green said he wasn’t pleased with the Wildcats’ effort in the first half—they looked lethargic after a week off, he said—and he discussed that with the team at halftime. To be elite, Green said, the team has to play “with an edge.”
Green said Campbell County shot 45 percent from the field in the first half, a number that he likes to keep under 35 percent.
Five Wildcats scored in double figures on Tuesday. Besides Higgins, Smith, and Jones, they were senior Anthony Gibson with 11 points and senior Tyshawn Young with 10.
Campbell County made five three-point shots, compared to the 15 for Oak Ridge. The Cougars were led by junior Evan Jackson with 16 points, senior Jacob Walden with 15, and junior Elijah Phillips with 14.
After the Tuesday night win, the Wildcats beat Clinton at home 98-44 on Friday. Jones and Gibson each scored 23 points. Daraon Jones of Clinton (5-11, 2-6) scored 15.
Oak Ridge will play Central (4-17, 1-8) at home on Tuesday. The girls’ game starts at 6 p.m., and the boys’ game begins at 7:30 p.m.
Jones hit his 150th three-pointer on December 13 at Gibbs. At the time, that put him in fourth place all time behind Zach Gulmire, Cory Fagan, and Steve Younkin, Clary said.
Another Oak Ridge player also hit 1,000 career points this season. Lady Wildcats junior Mykia Dowdell did it on December 10 at Blackman, becoming the 30th Lady Wildcat to do so, including her mother, Clary said.
It’s not clear if senior E.J. Bush, a starter and top performer, will be back this season for the Wildcats. That depends upon rehabilitation, Green said. Bush, who injured his knee during a game at Science Hill last month, was walking without crutches Tuesday.
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