Lady Trojans fall to Sac High, 54-53

By: Brett Ransford, Telegraph Correspondent
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Two of the top teams in the Sac-Joaquin Section clashed in the featured girls’ game of the Common Good Hoops Classic on Monday at Del Oro, as Oak Ridge dropped a 54-53 decision to Sac High. Despite the Oak Ridge loss, Caitlin Welsch earned the honorary award for hustle and effort. The Trojans (2-0 league, 15-2 overall) entered the game having only lost one game to the Nike TOC in December to Morristown-Hamblen West. Oak Ridge is sits at No. 2 in the section while Sacramento is No. 4. Oak Ridge outscored the Dragons in both the first and third quarters entering the fourth with the game tied at 34. Sacramento began the quarter on an 8-0 run, causing five turnovers in the first half of the quarter. Down 51-45 with 44.2 seconds left in the game, Oak Ridge made a last-ditch effort, as Sara James hit a 3-pointer. Megan Griswold pulled her team to within two points, hitting a three after James grabbed a missed free throw for a rebound and hailed it down court for the set up. With 10.1 seconds left the Trojans were looking at a 52-50 comeback from being down 51-41 earlier in the quarter. Fouling the inbound pass the clock sat at 8.8 seconds left with Sacramento making both of their free throws for the 54-50 lead. Natalie Stone received the ball at the top of the three-point line and sank the last points of the game. “A lot of teams just shut down, but we fought back again,” Oak Ridge coach Steve White said. “We came up a few seconds short, I guess, if you look at it that way. We didn’t adjust well to their pressure initially and we stopped moving. We got stagnant, couldn’t get good looks at the basket and turned the ball over a few too many times. In the second half we still had some mistakes and turnovers, but the girls played with better confidence. Sometimes it’s about matchups and they had the big girl (6-foot-3 Kyra Dunn) alter and change shots.” James finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds along with five steals and two assists. The Dragons put pressure on James with the ball, but along with other Trojans, she missed some close shots around the hoop. “We turned it over before we had a chance to make two or three passes,” said White. “When we make those passes Sara will touch the ball because she moves so well without it. But when we’re making one and turning it over there’s not a chance to do that.” The Trojans turned the ball over 25 times, 16 coming on steals by Sacramento. Also critical for the Trojans were the 16 fouls committed by Sacramento that sent them to the line where they struggled, making only eight-of-18. In the first half Oak Ridge shot one-of-seven from three and improved to five-of-nine in the second. Fighting for her Common Good Hoops Classic Award, Welsch scored eight points, had eight rebounds and three blocks and an assist. Griswold had 13 points to go along with three steals, two rebounds and two assists. Stone finished with eight points and also had two rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Oak Ridge jumps back into league play at Christian Brothers (1-2 league, 11-7 overall) on Wednesday.