BLUFF CITY — A nearly-perfect overtime period propelled the West Ridge basketball team to its fourth consecutive win on Wednesday at the eighth annual Food City Thanksgiving Classic at the Dyer Dome.
In the extra period, the Wolves were 4-for-4 from the field and 5-for-6 from the free-throw line in an 85-77 win over Mountain Mission School.
Senior star guard Wade Witcher finished with 32 points, going 12 of 23 from the field — including making both of his buckets in overtime.
“We hung in there and got a tough win,” West Ridge coach John Dyer said. “After the performance last night, it’s hard to get right back out, and it’ll be hard again.”
Will Harris, who has diversified his game from a spot-up style last season, notched 18 points while big man Dawson Arnold finished with 15.
“Will has changed his game a lot, and he made some great passes into Dawson tonight,” Dyer said.
The Wolves had a seven-point lead going into the final period, but a furious run by the Challengers made the game interesting.
The comeback was capped by a game-tying putback off the hands of Cliff Gashumba with 20 seconds left.
Imani Chacha had a big night for Mountain Mission, scoring 30 on 10-of-33 shooting and sinking 4 of 5 free throws.
Abel Mesfin, who fouled out midway through the fourth quarter for Mountain Mission, netted 23 while Gashumba had 14.
“(Mountain Mission) is as athletic as it gets,” Dyer said. “They tested us in our zone with five out, and we couldn’t cover them. They ran things a little bit differently, and hats off to them because they played great.”
The Wolves were 31 of 64 from the field but had 20 turnovers after totaling just six on Tuesday night against Lakeway Christian.
Mountain Mission was 29 of 73 and had 17 turnovers.
“Our first five games, we’ve gone out and played people,” Dyer said. “We went down to Cocke County and played down there where it’s tough. The North Carolina team we played was very athletic, then we played Johnson County at Johnson County. Then we played Lakeway here last night.
“I feel like we’ve really put our kids to the test, and it has made us better.”
Lakeway Christian 78, Tri-Cities Christian 54
The Lions were able to handle Tri-Cities Christian after getting out to a 23-4 lead in the first quarter and keeping the pedal to metal.
Shajai Jackson had another game of 20-plus points, finishing with 26 to lead Lakeway. Malchai Jim-Lawson (15) and Kyle Oliver (13) also scored in double-figures for the Lions.
Abraham Gewelke led the Eagles with 23 — 15 of which came in the third quarter — while Lofton Looney had 13 and Braxton Dixon contributed 10.
GIRLS Dobyns-Bennett 45, Cloudland 42
Bill Francis’ group earned their stripes in an early season slugfest with a tough-nosed Cloudland team as Hannah Frye blocked a potential game-tying 3-pointer at the horn to preserve the win.
“We knew this was going to be a battle,” Francis said. “I watched the game last night. We went over a few things today pregame, and the kids listened and adjusted well within the game today.
“(Cloudland) is tough and normally we don’t match up with teams that are really tough and physical, but this bunch I’ve got lives for that kind of stuff.”
The Lady Indians got huge 3-pointers from Frye and Payton Moore late in the game to halt Lady Highlander runs that got the lead down to four points.
Cloudland was down 10 points to start the fourth quarter and went 6 of 10 in the final period. The Lady Highlanders, however, were guilty of 10 turnovers in the second half and 17 for the game.
“I actually wanted to run a play there, and Payton made a 3-pointer,” Francis said. “I’m going to do that from now on. Every time that she has the ball out there, I’m going to call something, and she’s going to make a 3-pointer. That’s really happened at least five times.
“She’s decisive and even if it might be the wrong decision, I can live with being decisive.”
Moore finished with a team-high 15 while Caroline Hill netted 14.
Cloudland was led by Ella Benfield with a game-high 17 while Izabella Christman had 10. The Lady Highlander pick-and-roll offense that worked well on Tuesday against Science Hill was halted early and often.
“Our kids followed our instructions, and they did exactly what we needed to do,” Francis said. “I don’t think we made it easy on them, and they really earned every bucket. That really was a good, old-fashioned and physical game.”
West Ridge 59, Unaka 22
The defense of the Lady Wolves forced 19 turnovers and held Unaka to a 6-of-36 showing from the field to pull out a second straight win at the Food City Classic.
Fallon Taylor led the way for West Ridge with 16 while Alexis Hood had 14 and Allie Reilly notched 11. West Ridge was 22-for-51 shooting.
Lyndie Ramsey had a tough day shooting for Unaka, notching 11 on 3-for-15 shooting and a 4-of-5 effort from the charity stripe.
Bearden 60, Volunteer 22
The defending Class 4A state champion Lady Bulldogs got out a 15-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back in a thumping of Volunteer.
Florida State commit Avery Treadwell finished with 18 to lead Bearden. Kendall Anne Murphy was also in double figures with 13.
Ava Jackson led Volunteer with five.
Science Hill 51, Morristown East 39
The sharpshooting of the Lady Hilltoppers caught fire as the Johnson City crew hit nine 3-pointers.
Lexi Green hit four long balls, finishing the game with a team-high 16 while Kierra Whitney notched 11.
Harmony Sullivan led the Lady Hurricanes with 13 while Ella Wampler had 10.