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Amazing playoff run, season comes to an end for Lady Trojans

By: Matt Long Telegraph Sports Editor
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Oak Ridge High’s varsity girls’ basketball season ended with a loss, but taken as a whole the season was anything but a disappointment. The Lady Trojans, 25-9 on the year, reached the Nor-Cal semifinals before losing to top-seeded Berkeley on March 13, 49-38. The team finished as one of top-eight Division I teams in the state, quite an accomplishment for a team without a true superstar player leading the way. The team’s nine losses came against teams that ended the season with at least 21 wins and no more than 10 losses. While Oak Ridge could have and perhaps should have won a couple of them, every team that beat them was a good team. “To play the schedule we played, which has been pretty much the same schedule we’ve played the last three or four years — and we’ve lost a lot of players to graduation — this group deserves a lot of credit for what they accomplished,” White said. “No one except for the players and the coaching staff thought they would get as far as they did. There were no superstars, just a team.” Oak Ridge traveled to Berkeley with the hopes of pulling the upset. For all accounts, they battled the Yellowjackets closer than anyone could have expected, losing by only 11 points with two key players in their top-eight unable to play. Michelle Barkley injured her knee on March 10, while starting point guard Jenn Hoffman went down with a broken wrist early in the first quarter against Berkeley. With their backs the wall, the Lady Trojans refused to wilt, playing hard until the end of the game. “The girls played a tough, solid game and I give them a lot of credit,” White said. “We came down here last year and play three-quarters of the game, but this year we played all four quarters and battled, competed and fought.” The game was close the entire first half, as Oak Ridge trailed 11-9 after one quarter and 17-16 at the break. After Berkeley scored the first six points of the third quarter, Oak Ridge played them evenly the rest of the game and trailed 31-24 with eight minutes to play. The team had their chances, but never challenged for the lead the rest of the way, as the Yellowjackets distanced themselves late by knocking down their free throws. “We held their top scorer to three points in the first quarter and she didn’t score again until the fourth quarter,” White said. “We did a good job controlling the ball. They pressed us the whole game and we only made 10 turnovers. The girls did exactly what they were supposed to do.” With Barkley and Hoffman out, the top-six players saw more playing time, as did everyone off the bench, including Nicole Rucker, Lindsay Honaker, Lauren Liebert and Jenna Ford. Celeste Vitolas, called up from the junior varsity squad, also contributed. Jenna Klein led the way with nine points, while Jacki Bateman scored eight. Lauren Sende finished with seven and Katie Hoisington scored six. Haley Anderson had four points, while Kristina Zagyi and Alyssa Ramona both scored two. “I was proud of their effort,” White said. “They left everything on the floor and had no regrets. We had some bad luck with injuries, but that’s part of the game. This group came together at the right time.”