The Lady Trailblazers are hoping to rewrite the ending.
With a trip to Murfreesboro for the state tournament on the line, Boone will play host to the Lady Wildcats in a Class AAA sectional basketball contest Saturday at 7 p.m. inside Snyder Gym.
These teams met in 2017 at this stage with Oak Ridge earning a 61-44 win. Oak Ridge also eliminated Boone in 2003, the only other time the Lady Trailblazers have played host for a Class AAA sectional game.
THE BLAZER FILE
Boone hasn’t lost since Dec. 27, racking up 21 consecutive victories. The Lady Trailblazers are 29-4 with only two in-state losses. Those two setbacks came against No. 1-ranked Murfreesboro Riverdale and No 2-ranked Bradley Central. Riverdale and Central have a combined record of 63-1.
Boone won both the District 1-AAA and Region 1-AAA titles. In the region finals, Boone held Jefferson County to two first-half points in a 47-31 win.
THE WILDCAT FILE
Oak Ridge (25-6) started the season with a 3-3 record before hitting its stride and winning 22 of its next 24 games. One of those losses in that stretch was a six-point setback against Bradley Central, which beat Boone by 13 points.
The Lady Wildcats won the District 3-AAA title, but struggled to get past Maryville, 40-35, in the Region 2-AAA semifinals. In the region championship, Oak Ridge lost 57-45 to Knox Bearden.
It was 20-20 at halftime, and Boone had the pace and control to its liking. However, Oak Ridge found a crease and turned it into a pathway to break the game open. The Lady Wildcats forged ahead 29-24 midway through the third quarter, and Boone wasn’t able to recapture the momentum.
This year’s Oak Ridge team is similar to last year’s group, said Boone head coach Travis Mains.
“The bulk of their team is back,” said Mains. “We lost a couple, they lost a couple.”
In the loss to Bearden, junior guard Jada Guinn led Oak Ridge with 16 points.
Desiree Bates added nine points and Jaymi Golden had six. In last year’s game against Boone, Guinn (18 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals), Golden (11 points, 4 assists) and Bates (10 points, 6 rebounds) led the way.
Boone got 13 points, nine rebounds, four blocks and two assists from Sydney Pearce.
“Last year’s experience gives us some good film to study and gives us motivation of how close we are to meeting something every girl playing high school basketball thinks about,” said Mains. “We’ve got to rebound and compete for the ball, take care of the ball, play loose, have fun, and put the ball in the basket.”
Mains said he expects Snyder Gym to be crowded.
“Blazer nation and our Tri-Cities basketball community will get behind these girls,” said Mains. “They are good kids who play the right way. And I’m expecting people will want to watch two of the top 10 teams in the state compete in a win-or-go-home game. These games don’t happen very often. It has been 15 years for our program.”