Oak Ridge’s Miss Basketball finalist threatened a triple-double while leading her team to a 65-49 win over Science Hill in the Class AAA state basketball quarterfinals Thursday at Murphy Center.
Winning their 31st straight game, the Lady Wildcats improved to 34-2 and earned a spot in Friday’s semifinals. They will take on Bradley Central, which edged Lebanon, 34-26.
It was a near-triple-double performance for Guinn, who finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists (although officially only credited with four).
“She’s naturally gifted,” said Oak Ridge head coach Paige Redman. “Jada has a lot of things a coach can’t coach. You don’t coach that; you just enjoy watching it happen. That’s just who Jada is.”
Guinn didn’t appear to force anything, even when Science Hill tied the game early in the second half.
“She just doesn’t panic,” said Science Hill head coach Scottie Whaley. “She’s a silky smooth player. They run a lot of stuff through her, and she is unselfish. She makes great passes, and she’s just a hard cover. We knew it would be tough.”
On the receiving end of passes, or taking advantage of the attention Science Hill was paying to Guinn, Khamari Mitchell-Steen (12), Brianna Dunbar (14) and Shatyra Copeland (12) each reached double figures in scoring.
Also, Oak Ridge hurt Science Hill in transition.
“They were all fast,” said Science Hill guard Jeila Greenlee. “And they passed the ball well up the court. They threw good outlet passes. And they rebounded well.”
Mitchell-Steen was all over the place, totaling six rebounds, three assists and five steals. Dunbar crushed any Science Hill comeback hopes with a 6-for-7 performance at the foul line, and Copeland did her damage in the paint.
Oak Ridge was 15 of 17 from the foul line.
Science Hill trailed 31-28 with 3:36 left in the third quarter. Alasia Smith picked up her third foul, and three seconds later Guinn drilled a 3-pointer.
Oak Ridge eventually closed the third quarter on a 13-3 run to take a 44-31 lead into the fourth quarter. The Lady Wildcats scored the first four points of the fourth quarter for a 48-31 edge, and the outcome was pretty much decided.
Turnovers were part of the story for Science Hill, which had 11 of its 18 giveaways in the second half.
SCIENCE HILL STANDOUTS
It was a good debut at the state level for Smith, a junior, and Greenlee, a sophomore. Smith notched another double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Greenlee added 13 points and five rebounds.
Freshman Nae Marion was impressive, totaling seven points. Erin Egerbrecht knocked down a pair of treys to total six points.
Smith said the Lady Hilltoppers handled the state atmosphere decently, but could have done better.
“I thought we came out a little too excited,” said Smith. “It’s a bigger step than usual.”
Greenlee said the Hilltoppers didn’t do one thing they had been doing lately.
“We played together toward the end of the season, but we didn’t bring it to state and that hurt us,” she said.
Oak Ridge pulled ahead in spurts, but Science Hill had answers. The Lady Hilltoppers took the first lead with a 7-2 start before Oak Ridge closed the first quarter on a 13-2 run.
After Science Hill tied the game in second quarter, a quick flurry by the Lady Wildcats produced a 22-15 advantage. But Science Hill finished strong and trailed only 24-21 at the break.
“I thought we were in good shape,” said Whaley. “We knew they were fast, and they got some transition buckets. But our kids played hard. They played their butts off. I thought they handled the environment well for this group’s first time being here.”