BLUFF CITY — Step for step, the Volunteer boys basketball team played with Oak Ridge for 21/2 quarters.
The Wildcats, however, pulled away with a 14-2 run in the third to supplant the Falcons 87-70 in the first boys action of Tuesday’s seventh annual Food City Thanksgiving Classic inside the Dyer Dome.
Volunteer’s Garrison Barrett netted a game-high 27 points, but it was not enough to overcome an athletic Wildcats squad.
“I don’t know at this point and time whether we’re in good condition yet with five of those guys coming straight out of football,” Volunteer coach Mike Poe said. “I thought we competed really well. When they made their run, we had opportunities to answer the bell and we didn’t.
“We got just as good of shots as they got and the only difference was that they made them and we didn’t.”
Oak Ridge turned the ball over only four times in the second half and shot 52.9% in the final two periods.
Jamison Uptgraft led the Wildcats with 22 points on 8-for-14 shooting and making three of his four free throws. Brother Caden Uptgraft threw in 10.
Lucas Searcy was a big help as well for Oak Ridge, netting 18. Kell Slater (14) and Darren Osborne (11) were also in double figures.
The Wildcats, overall, shot 30 of 63 from the floor, but went just 17 for 26 from the charity stripe.
Volunteer had a rough shooting night, especially in the third quarter — when it went 7 of 17. Joltin Harrison had a good night shooting for the Falcons, netting 16 and going 3 of 5 from long range.
“The pressure that (Oak Ridge) brought really wasn’t a factor and this group of guards couldn’t handle that two years ago,” Poe said. “I don’t worry about pressure. I worry about size and strength because I know our guards are good as anyone else’s around here.”
Volunteer will be back in action on Wednesday as it faces Bearden at 11:30 a.m.
“I like where we are and I told them right after the game that I didn’t expect to go 29-0,” Poe said. “What we need right now is to learn from what we’ve experienced.”
Bearden 62, McCallie 47
The Bulldogs defense showed up in a big way and continuously frustrated McCallie. The Blue Tornado touted 7-foot-1 center David Craig, but Bearden shut him down quickly by drawing a pair of quick fouls.
Hayden Mosley led the way for Bearden with 18 points while Walker Kyle and Elijah Bredwood each had 15.
Parker Robison ended the night with a game-high 20 points for McCallie, but it was simply not enough.
Bearden 62, Dobyns-Bennett 47
Much like the first game of the day, Dobyns-Bennett hung with Bearden for about 2 1/2 quarters before the Lady Bulldogs pulled away.
Emily Gonzalez led the way for Bearden with 20 points while Avery Treadwell threw in 17.
Jennifer Sullivan also had 13 for Bearden.
“They didn’t allow the caliber of program that Bearden is to intimidate them,” D-B coach Bill Francis said of his players. “We rushed some things, but we got what we were looking for. That’s what good teams do to you, they sipped you up and get you out of rhythm.”
D-B led at halftime, but Bearden’s defense stepped up in the third, holding the Lady Indians without a field goal for almost a three-minute stretch.
Hannah Frye and Payton Moore each finished with 10 to lead the Tribe.
“We missed a lot of opportunities and they made the ones they had,” Francis said. “The difference between great teams and good teams is capitalizing on the big opportunities.”
South Greene 66, Hampton 53
Once again, the South Greene defense was suffocating, holding Hampton to eight points in the third quarter and ultimately pulled away.
Emma Cutshall had a game-high 22 points for the Lady Rebels while Addison Williams contributed 11.
Hampton had two players finish in double figures as Linsey Jenkins led the way with 13 and Taylor Berry netted 12.
With the win, South Greene moves to atop the standings in the event with a 2-0 record.
Sullivan East 68, Happy Valley 32
Jenna Hare totaled 22 points and Riley Nelson turned in a 20-point night for the Lady Patriots, who ambushed Happy Valley with a 43-9 first half.
Hare continued her climb up Sullivan East’s career scoring list, moving from 18th to 14th — passing Kristen Ervin (class of 2005), sister Alyssa Hare (2017), Kelly Stewart (1993) and Megan Addison (2017).
The Lady Warriors were topped by Kadie Bailey with 13 points.