Lady Trojans prepare for Kennedy in semisBy: Matt Long, Sports Editor
Oak Ridge hasn’t forgotten the 62-58 loss to Kennedy in last year’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship game.
But instead of the loss stirring up feelings of jealousy and envy, the memory has Oak Ridge focused on playing better basketball.
“When I think of last year’s game, I remember if we had one more box out and one more rebound we would have won a section championship,” Oak Ridge senior Haley Anderson said. “That’s a big motivation and focus for us. Getting back to UOP is a good step and it’s on our way to our goal.”
Attention to detail is of great importance to the Lady Trojans and that’s why year-in and year-out they are among the top teams in the Sacramento area. Good teams do the little things correctly and more often than everyone else.
“We always talk about it,” Anderson said. “Every little detail can decide a game.”
Oak Ridge, 26-3 on the season, faces Kennedy (23-5) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the University of Pacific. Both teams advance to the Nor-Cal tournament regardless of the outcome, but the winning team will advance to the Division I title game at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Sleep Train Arena.
“It’s a game between two familiar programs that know each other well,” Oak Ridge coach Steve White said. “They’ve got a great player in Lynette Johnson and they’re similar to us in that they play well together. I expect a great game.”
Johnson averages 17 points per game and will be the main focus of the Oak Ridge defense.
“We definitely need to contain Lynette,” Anderson said. “From the Monterey Trail game, we knew number 15 (Jasmine Redmon) was their best player and we didn’t take her away quickly enough. We also need to contain their dribbling and penetration.”
Redmon scored 19 of her team’s 37 points in the 52-37 loss to the Trojans Thursday. Oak Ridge will need to play better defense against Kennedy and specifically, Johnson, to advance to the section final.
“We’re going to need a big defensive game,” Anderson said. “We also need to keep moving the ball offensively and play unselfishly. It’s what’s gotten us this far.”