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Anderson's 23 points leads Oak Ridge over Monterey TraIl, 52-37

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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With a huge dose of Haley Anderson, good ball movement on offense and solid defense for most of the game, Oak Ridge had more than enough to defeat Monterey Trail, 52-37, in the second round of the playoffs.

The win advances the Lady Trojans to next Thursday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinal, where they will face Kennedy in a rematch of last year’s title game.

Anderson scored her team’s first nine points and finished the game with 23, the only player in double-digits for the team, who improved to 25-3 with the win. Grace Derksen finished with seven points, while Michelle Barkley and Jenna Ford both scored six.

“Haley got us going in the first quarter,” Oak Ridge coach Steve White said. “She’s a do-everything player and she did everything tonight.”

Despite Anderson’s nine points in the first quarter, the team struggled, but scored four points in the final three seconds to earn a little breathing room.

Shelby Peters earned an and-one opportunity with 2.9 seconds to play, but missed the free throw. Barkley was there for the rebound and putback, though, as Oak Ridge turned an 11-8 lead into 15-8 just like that.

Besides Anderson, the rest of the team was sluggish early, but in the second quarter the Lady Trojans played their best basketball when they outscored the Mustangs 18-11. Oak Ridge went on a 15-5 run in the first five minutes of the quarter. Anderson scored six points on offensive rebounds and Barkley knocked down a pair of free throws before Ford scored all six of her points over a 65-second stretch. Derksen ended the run with a three-pointer and Oak Ridge led 30-13 with 3:02 to play in the quarter.

Oak Ridge held a 33-19 lead at halftime, despite not having a point from leading scorer Ali Bettencourt.

The Mustangs came out in the third quarter fired up and scored 10 of the first 12 points to cut Oak Ridge’s lead to six, 35-29. They had a chance to cut the lead to three, but missed a three-pointer. Bettencourt followed with a three-pointer of her own, her only points of the game, that put Oak Ridge up by nine and Monterey Trail never got closer than eight points the rest of the game.

“As coaches, we always look to our weaknesses and how to fix them and we saw things tonight that we need to fix,” White said. “The effort was there, but the discipline, at times, wasn’t. I thought we could have played smarter.”

Barkley rebounded well and worked hard to get position inside, though struggled to put the ball in the hoop. That said, however, she made her presence known on the court.

“We wanted to play a disciplined game and part of that was posting up strong inside and getting the ball up,” Barkley said. “We did a pretty good job tonight. We were selfish at times, but we were amped up and ready to play. I thought we picked up our rebounding and it showed.”