Monday night, the Oak Ridge Wildcats advanced to their fourth state tournament in the past five seasons by annihilating the team that prevented them from making it to Murfreesboro last year. The homestanding Wildcats thrashed David Crockett Monday by the final score of 90-60, avenging a double-overtime loss to the Pioneers in last year’s sub-state round. Taijon Jones led the way for 30-2 Oak Ridge with 27 points while Anthony Gibson scored 22 and Tee Higgins grabbed 10 rebounds to go along with his 14 points. The Wildcats also welcomed back senior guard EJ Bush, who suffered a knee injury in December that required surgery. He finished with six points. The Wildcats will find out who they play in next week’s state tournament later this evening.
Elsewhere, the Bearden Bulldogs—who eliminated Clinton from the Region tournament two weeks ago—went on the road to Johnson City and punished the Science Hill Hilltoppers 86-57, as the dynamic backcourt duo of Ques Glover (26 points) and Trent Stephney (25) combined for 51 points.
In Class AA, top-ranked Catholic crushed Grainger 73-49 behind 35 points from Luke Smith as they advanced to the state tournament for the first time since 2006. CAK’s season was ended at Sullivan East by the final score of 73-50.
In Class A, Harriman rolled past Cosby 86-47 to advance to the state tournament while Grace Christian went on the road and squeaked by Hampton 64-63.
The girls’ state tournaments begin Wednesday in Murfreesboro with Class AAA action tipping off at 11:30 am when Oak Ridge faces Memphis East. Morristown West takes the floor against Riverdale Wednesday at 2:15 pm. The Class AA tournament will start Wednesday with Fulton facing East Nashville at 5 pm and the Gatlinburg-Pittman girls play their first-ever state tournament game Thursday at 12 noon at MTSU.