Oak Ridge will play in the girls state basketball tournament in Murfreesboro today (Thursday, March 7).
The Lady Wildcats (33-2) will play Science Hill (31-3) in a Division I Class AAA quarterfinal game at 11:30 a.m. (12:30 Eastern) in the Murphy Center at Middle Tennessee State University.
The other girls quarterfinal game in the BlueCross Basketball Championships on Thursday will feature Bradley Central (31-3) and Lebanon (25-10). That game will start at 10 a.m. (11 a.m. Eastern).
Two other girls quarterfinal games were played Wednesday. Riverdale (30-1) beat Arlington (27-7) 67-50 in the first game, and Houston (29-2) defeated Mt. Juliet (27-6) 58-65 in the other. Riverdale, a Murfreesboro team, has won the Class AAA state championship three years in a row. The Lady Warriors beat the Lady Wildcats 68-36 in the championship game in 2016.
This year, Oak Ridge, the Region 2 champion, made it to the state tournament for the third time in four years by beating Dobyns-Bennett, the Region 1 runner-up, 59-42 in a Class AAA sectional game at Wildcat Arena on Saturday.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Oak Ridge senior Jada Guinn, a Miss Basketball finalist who led the Lady Wildcats with 25 points against Dobyns-Bennett and made five three-point shots. “I’m super excited. We worked hard for this.”
The Lady Indians (28-8) were led by senior Courtney Whitson, who also scored 25 points. She had more than half of Dobyns-Bennett’s points.
Oak Ridge made 10 three-point shots, compared to one for Dobyns-Bennett.
Also in double digits for the Lady Wildcats in the sectional game were sophomore Khamari Mitchell-Steen with 15 points, including nine on three-point shots, and junior Bri Dunbar with 11, including six on three-point shots.
Oak Ridge led at the end of all four quarters: 16-8, 35-21, 49-33, and 59-42.
Oak Ridge and Dobyns-Bennett played in a Class AAA sectional in 2016. The Lady Wildcats won that game 39-32 before going on to finish as Class AAA runner-up in the state tournament. Guinn, who was then a freshman, had 14 points in the second half of that 2016 sectional game for a game-high 18 points, and Whitson, who was also then a freshman, led the Lady Indians with 16.
Oak Ridge beat Science Hill, today’s opponent, 54-51 in the Cleveland Shootout in Cleveland, Tennessee, in December 2017; defeated the Lady Hilltoppers 57-36 in the Champion Chevrolet Shootout in Johnson City in December 2016; and won 49-32 in the Rick McGill Toyota Classic in December 2015.
This year, Oak Ridge has won 30 straight games, and Science Hill has won 14 straight and 26 in a row against in-state competition.
Science Hill, the Region 1 champion, advanced to the state tournament by beating Maryville (30-4), the Region 2 runner-up, 55-52 in another Class AAA sectional game on Saturday.
After the state runner-up title in 2016, Oak Ridge was eliminated by Memphis Central 74-61 in a quarterfinal game in March 2017. That was the second state tournament appearance in the past four years. This year’s quarterfinal game will be the third in those four years.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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