Lady Trojans roll over undermanned Eagles

By: Matt Long
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What might have been as a good battle at the beginning of the season turned into a blowout on Wednesday night. Oak Ridge High’s varsity girls’ basketball team remained undefeated in the Sierra Valley Conference with a 64-28 win over Vista del Lago. With two players in their top-six out of the lineup with injuries, the Eagles (4-2, 17-4) didn’t stand much of a chance against the Lady Trojans (6-0, 18-3), ranked No. 1 in the area and considered by many, including Vista coach Jim Stephens, to be one of the top teams in Northern California. Vista’s starting point guard Robin Clawson is out for the season with a knee injury, while sixth-man Jessica Pena missed the game with a hand injury. With these players, competing with Oak Ridge would still be tough, without them it was darn near impossible. Vista jumped out to a 5-0 lead with a pair of free throws from Danielle Bryant and a 3-pointer by Brittany Stegall and only trailed 11-9 with 1:54 to play in the first quarter, but it was all Oak Ridge from then on. By the end of the first quarter, Oak Ridge led by six, 15-9, and then started the second quarter with a 13-2 run to finish off the Eagles. Ashlyn Lussier scored five points during the run, including a 3-pointer. Kristina Williams scored four, while Natalie Stone and Kelsi Danciart both added a basket. Oak Ridge went on to outscore the Eagles 29-9 in the quarter on its way to a 44-18 halftime lead. The third quarter saw Oak Ridge continue to dominate on its way to a 36-point victory. Sara James led the Lady Trojans with 18 points, while Natalie Stone came off the bench to score 15 and Kristina Williams added 10 points. For the Eagles, Stephanie Stephens scored eight, Monica Miles chipped in seven, while Stegall finished with six. Oak Ridge struggled to score early, but eventually the cold shooting woes left them. “It’s like they were daring us to shoot it from outside and we weren’t hitting,” Oak Ridge coach Steve White said. “Sometimes in practice you’ll miss three or four in a row and then make three or four. We talked about it at halftime; you have to believe you’re going to make them.” For the Eagles, they know they were fighting an uphill battle from the start. “I think the thing we take away from this game is that we went through it together, shorthanded and at an athletic disadvantage and played hard,” Vista coach Jim Stephens said. “I’m proud of them. To me basketball teaches you perseverance and fighting through the hard times and that’s what we’re doing right now.” The Trojans hit the road to face Ponderosa on Friday, while the Eagles play at Cordova.