Note: This story was updated at 2 p.m.
After two wins at the buzzer this week, the Oak Ridge Lady Wildcats will play for the championship in the Andrew Johnson Bank Ladies Classic basketball tournament in Greenville today (Saturday, December 29).
It’s the second championship game in a week for the girls. Oak Ridge (14-2, 3-1 District 3-AAA) won their divisional championship in the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix last Saturday.
Oak Ridge senior guard Jada Guinn was named the most valuable player of the Nike Tournament on Saturday, December 22.
She had one of the buzzer-beating shots, a layup, in the Andrew Johnson Bank Ladies Classic this week. That was in the final five seconds of a 50-48 win over Daniel Boone, an upper East Tennessee team, in a first-round game on Wednesday.
The Lady Trailblazers ended the Lady Wildcats’ last season with a 62-51 Class AAA sectional win in March, and Guinn told 5StarPreps, a high school sports website, that she didn’t want to lose to Daniel Boone this week.
Oak Ridge junior Bri Dunbar had the other buzzer-beating shot during the tournament this week, a 12-foot jumper after a turnover forced by Raja Eckles. That was during another 50-48 win, this one over Morristown West during a semifinal game on Friday. The Lady Trojans had trailed 32-15 at halftime, but rallied in the second half after trailing by as many as 19 points before losing by two.
The Lady Wildcats will play Jefferson County (12-4, 3-1 District 2-AAA) in the championship game at 4 p.m. at the Hal Henard Gymnasium in Greeneville today.
Playing in the tournament for three years straight, Oak Ridge has advanced to the championship game each year. The Lady Wildcats lost to Bradley Central the last two years.
“We want to win a championship,” Oak Ridge coach Paige Redman told the Greenville Sun newspaper. “We’ve talked about being in this game three years in a row, and we came here to win, not to get second again. It’s hard to play four days in a row, and we just did that last week, too. I think it says a lot about our stamina and our mentality, and I’m super proud of these girls for getting here again.”
Besides the first-round and semifinal wins over Daniel Boone and Morristown West this year, Oak Ridge beat George Rogers Clark of Kentucky 63-50 in a quarterfinal game on Thursday to advance to the championship game. Besides scoring 30 points, Guinn had 10 rebounds, six assists, and three steals, according to Tim Lownsdale of NEB Media.
Jefferson County advanced to the final by beating Franklin County of Kentucky, Greeneville, and South Greene.
Oak Ridge’s five championships in the tournament are the most by any team, with Bradley Central and South Greene each having won four, according to Wildcats broadcaster David Clary, who keeps records of Oak Ridge team statistics. Oak Ridge’s last title in the Andrew Johnson Bank Ladies Classic was in 2002.
Guinn, who has signed to play basketball at Tennessee Tech, led Oak Ridge in scoring against Morristown West in the semifinal game on Friday with 25 points. She also had five rebounds, five assists, and six steals, according to the Greeneville Sun. Dunbar scored 10 points for the Lady Wildcats.
Guinn also led the Lady Wildcats during Thursday’s quarterfinal win over George Rogers Clark with 30 points. Senior Shatyrah Copeland had 13, and Dunbar added 12, Clary said.
Dunbar and Guinn each had 14 points against Daniel Boone on Wednesday, and sophomore Khamari Mitchell-Steen added 13.
In the Nike Tournament of Champions last week, Guinn and Mitchell-Steen each scored 16 points during the 64-34 championship win over the Christian Lady Patriots of California, and Dunbar added 14.
Copeland led with 15 points for Oak Ridge in the 66-44 semifinal win over South Sioux City, the reigning state champions in Nebraska, on Friday, December 21. Guinn and Mitchell-Steen each had 13, and Dunbar scored 12.
A day earlier, Guinn led Oak Ridge with 25 points during a 57-47 quarterfinal win over Seffner Christian of Florida in the Nike Tournament, and she also pulled down 14 rebounds and had four assists.
The Lady Wildcats beat J.K. Mullen of Colorado 46-37 in a first-round divisional game on Wednesday, December 19.
In other recent games, the Oak Ridge girls:
- defeated Cleveland 46-37 at home on Saturday, December 15 (Guinn scored 36);
- beat Anderson County 65-30 at home on Friday, December 14 (Mitchell-Steen scored 22);
- defeated Hardin Valley 60-28 at home on Monday, December 10 (Guinn scored 36);
- beat Southwind 58-56 in the East/West Classic at Bradley Central in Cleveland on Saturday, December 8, on a Copeland layup with one second to play;
- lost to Arlington 65-50 in the East/West Classic at East Hamilton in Chattanooga on Friday, December 7; and
- beat Karns 84-24 at home on Tuesday, December 4 (Guinn scored 22).
Oak Ridge will resume district play on Thursday, January 3, playing Clinton (10-4, 3-2) at Wildcat Arena. 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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