Lady Trojans win three games at Clovis West Tournament

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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When Steve White put the early-season Clovis West Tournament on the schedule, he hoped to win two of the four games his team played.
Considering his team won three games and lost only to the eventual champion, with no more than eight healthy players suited up for any one game, the tournament was a big success.

“I’m very pleased with the effort and how we played considering we had eight players, at best, and three were sophomores,” White said. “We found some weaknesses we need to work on, but that’s to be expected for a tournament this early in the season.”

Oak Ridge opened the tournament with a 51-35 win over Buchanan in a game in which they only had seven players. The game was never in doubt, as the Lady Trojans got off to a good start and held on for the win. Jenn Hoffman, who was Oak Ridge’s lone all-tournament selection, led the team with 12 points, while Shelby Peters added 10.

The Lady Trojans ran into the eventual tournament winner on Friday, Mater Dei, and suffered a 73-34 loss. It was a mismatch on paper and it proved to be that way on the court as well. Mater Dei’s starting backcourt featured players taller than six feet, while they were being guarded by players between 5-2 and 5-5. Despite the mismatches and lopsided score, White was pleased with his team’s performance.

“The girls competed hard and it was a 12-point game late in the first half before they came down and hit three, three-pointers in a row,” White said. “We only lost the third quarter by five points and then we ran out of gas. It was one of our better-played games. We did a lot of good things and were just out-manned. They went on to win the championship by 35 points so I didn’t feel so bad.”

Hoffman and Peters again led the way offensively with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Oak Ridge started Saturday morning with a 72-40 win over Clovis North in a game that all eight players scored. Hoffman and Nikki Dow led the way with 15 points each, while Ali Bettencourt added 14.

The Lady Trojans saved their most exciting win for the tournament finale when they beat Hanford with a shot in the final seconds. Trailing by one late in the game, Oak Ridge sophomore Grace Derksen followed up her missed three-pointer and scored the game-winning basket with three seconds remaining to give Oak Ridge a 34-33 win.

“It was huge,” White said. “To beat Hanford with the pieces we had showed a lot of heart and effort. Grace is a heady player and she knew the situation and didn’t hesitate and made an off-balance shot.”

Hoffman, as she did throughout the tournament, led the team with 13 points.

“I thought it was a good tournament for us,” White said. “I thought we competed well and showed a lot of heart, energy and effort. We gave everything we had.”

Oak Ridge host its annual Trojan Shoot-Out tournament t his week, opening at 6:30 p.m. Thursday against Winters. The winner plays at 6:30 p.m. Friday against the West Campus/El Camino winner, while the losers play at 5 p.m. Friday.

The championship game is slated for 4 p.m. Saturday.