Lady Trojans easily defeat Winters, 54-16

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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For the first time in this young season, Oak Ridge High’s varsity girls’ basketball team had a full second unit to utilize in their game against Winters Thursday.

The Lady Trojans didn’t need a full bench to beat Winters in the first round of the Oak Ridge Shoot-Out, as they won easily, 54-16, but it sure was nice for coach Steve White to see Haley Anderson and Michelle Barkley back in uniform for their first games of the season.

Both players played somewhat sparingly, Anderson seeing the floor slightly more than Barkley, but it was a step in the right direction for both girls; Anderson is recovering from a knee sprain, while Barkley is working her way back from knee surgery. White said he didn’t see enough of either player to really comment on their progress.

“Michelle could only play one to two minutes at a time and she looked rusty,” White said. “Both she and Haley are heady players, though, and we’ll see how they are tomorrow.”

Regardless of how much they played or how well they played, the fact that Oak Ridge had a ninth and tenth player to provide depth was a plus. The hope is they’ll continue to improve and be 100 percent healthy by January.

Oak Ridge senior Nikki Dow said it’s been challenging at times early in the season because of all the team’s injuries. On top of Anderson and Barkley, Celeste Vitolas, Lauren Liebert, Yumi Drossos and Krisztina Zagyi are also injured and have yet to play.

“It’s been difficult because sometimes we only had six girls who could practice,” Dow said. “We had some girls gain some confidence with some more playing time so that was good, and now we’ve got some people coming back.”

After a sluggish first quarter where Oak Ridge held a slim 11-9 lead, the Lady Trojans dominated the rest of the way, outscoring Winters 43-7 by winning the final three quarters 12-3, 15-2 and 16-2, respectively. Baylee Opperman scored all 16 of her team’s points in the loss.

“Games like this are frustrating because the level of play drops off and then we get lackadaisical, which leads to mental mistakes that I feel we should never make in the first place,” White said. “Our intensity was better in the second half and it was nice to see that we picked it up.”

Dow agreed the team did some good things in the second half.

“I thought we passed the ball well and did a good job communicating,” Dow said. “We had fun even though it was difficult at times.”

Shelby Peters led the Lady Trojans with 13 points, while Dow scored 11 and Grace Derksen finished with eight.