The Oak Ridge Lady Wildcats (30-3) will play Memphis Central (28-6) in the first game of the Class AAA State Girls’ Basketball Tournament on Wednesday.
The state quarterfinal game starts at 10 a.m. Central (11 a.m. Eastern) Wednesday in the Murphy Center at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro.
The other six teams in the girls’ Class AAA tournament are Morristown West of East Tennessee, Clarksville (northwest of Nashville on the Kentucky border), Stewarts Creek of Smyrna, Dickson County in the Nashville area, Riverdale of Murfreesboro, and Houston of Germantown in the Memphis area.
Riverdale, last year’s Class AAA state girls champion, is back in the state tournament. At 31-0, they are the only undefeated team. Riverdale is the number one-ranked team in the nation by USA Today and MaxPreps, according to the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal.
But Riverdale senior All-American Anastasia Hayes went down with an ankle injury late in a Class AAA sectional against Cumberland County on Saturday. Riverdale Coach Randy Coffman said Hayes has a “few days to nurse it,” according to the Daily News Journal. Hayes is a 5-foot-7 point guard and University of Tennessee signee who was named a Miss Basketball finalist again this year and was named most valuable player of last year’s state tournament.
Oak Ridge is the Class AAA runner-up from last year. The Lady Wildcats lost 68-36 to the Lady Warriors in the 2016 championship game. This is the 23rd trip to state for the Oak Ridge girls. They have won three state championships, with the last one in 1997. They’ve made it to the state championship game 10 times.
Oak Ridge Coach Paige Redman said Memphis Central is very quick and athletic.
“They like to play a fast-paced game and control the tempo,” Redman said.
The Lady Warriors are a small team without a lot of size and mostly five guards, Redman said.
Oak Ridge and Memphis Central have had one common opponent this season: Hamilton Heights. Hamilton Heights beat Oak Ridge 58-42 in November, and Hamilton Heights beat Memphis Central 90-41 in January.
The semifinal games in this year’s tournament are on Friday morning, and the championship game is at 1 p.m. Saturday.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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