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Third time is the charm for Karns; Wildcats lose to Beavers

  • Oak Ridge’s Jaquez Thomas makes a move to the basket during region play against Knoxville West High School. - Luthor Simmons Photography

  • Oak Ridge’s Kaden Brightharp applies defensive pressure on a Wildcat press against Knoxville West. - Luthor Simmons Photography

It’s hard to beat a team three times in a season.

It was a feat that the Oak Ridge High School boys basketball team couldn’t pull off.

Thus, the Wildcats’ 2022-23 campaign came to an end in the Region 2-4A Tournament semifinals early last week.

ORHS, which finished the season with a 24-6 overall record, won its first-round region tournament tilt at Hardin Valley Academy, prevailing easily, on Saturday, Feb. 25.

That win set up a third meeting with district rival Karns High on Tuesday, Feb. 28.

The Beavers had dropped a pair of close decisions to ORHS during the regular season.

And the Beavers, playing on their home court, notched a 78-72 victory, making the third time the charm.

Oak Ridge, which won the regular-season District 3-4A championship, was upset by Knoxville Central in the postseason tournament in the semifinals in an overtime thriller, salvaged third place by routing Knoxville’s West High School in the consolation game.

Karns, meanwhile, won the tournament championship and earned the right to host the region semifinals and finals.

The Beavers lost two games to the Wildcats by a total of eight points. But they wouldn’t be denied in the postseason as they went on to knock off William Blount 74-69 in the region championship.

In Oak Ridge’s season finale, Grayson Strader scored 17 points to lead the Wildcats. Brennen Scott added 13, and Shamar Greene finished with 10.