Article:    
Oak Ridge avenges last year's loss to David Crockett on way to state
4/7/2017 6:11 PM

OAK RIDGE - Coach Aaron Green left one last reminder on the chalkboard before his Oak Ridge High School boys basketball team took the court at Wildcat Arena against David Crockett Monday night in the state Class AAA sectional.

“The last thing I wrote on the board was ‘73-70,’ ” said Green.

“That was the score a year ago tonight on this court when they beat us. I told them to go out and do something about it, and they did.”
Indeed.

Oak Ridge never trailed in the 90-60 runaway as the Wildcats avenged last year’s double-overtime loss to the Pioneers in the sectional.

“I’d be lying if I said we didn’t talk about it (last year’s sectional loss),” said Green.

The win sends Oak Ridge (30-2) to the state tournament in Murfreesboro for the fourth time in five years. The Wildcats, riding an 18-game winning streak, open state tournament play on March 15 at Middle Tennessee State’s Murphy Center.

Oak Ridge was simply too long and experienced for the young Pioneers (19-16), who beat the Wildcats twice last season.

Senior guard Tajion Jones, a Mr. Basketball finalist, made 11 of 16 field goal tries and scored a game-high 27 points to spark Oak Ridge.

“Tajion Jones, offensively, played really, really well,” said Green. “He showed why he’s a Mr. Basketball finalist.”

Anthony Gibson, another senior guard, continued his fine play for the Wildcats with 22 points. Tee Higgins contributed 14 points and nine rebounds while Tyshawn Young had nine points and 10 rebounds.

Oak Ridge shot 56.7 percent (34 of 60) and outrebounded David Crockett, 38-22.

Camara Bradley led the Pioneers with 17 points. Josh Releford had 15 points and nine rebounds. McHale Bright netted 11 points.

David Crockett hit 10 3-pointers, but the Pioneers shot just 36 percent (18-for-50) from the floor.

Bush Returns: E.J. Bush, a 6-foot-5 senior forward, saw his first action since injuring his knee in December against Science Hill. Bush entered the game with 2:04 to play in the first quarter and saw considerable action. He finished with six points and four rebounds.

“He has got a little rust, but he looked good,” said Green. “The good part about it is we’ve got about eight or nine days to get him back in shape.”

Winning Legacy: The Wildcat seniors added to their legacy as the winningest class in school history. Oak Ridge’s seniors have won 88 percent of their games, and are 125-17 over the past four seasons.

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