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Oak Ridge advances to second round of Nor-Cal playoffs

Washington no match for Lady Trojans as Oak Ridge wins by 27
By: Matt Long/Telegraph Sports Editor
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As nice as it is to play on your home court in front of your home fans, it doesn’t match the energy and electricity as playing for a section championship at Power Balance Pavilion. Oak Ridge High’s varsity girls’ basketball team played host to the George Washington Eagles on Wednesday in the opening round of the Northern California playoffs and was clearly the better team, as they walked off the court 51-24 winners, but it was hardly a performance worth remembering. Of course, it’s not easy following up an exciting, double overtime game with a section championship on the line. “The energy in the gym, the energy with the team, it just wasn’t there,” Oak Ridge coach Steve White said. “In the locker room in pregame, the girls seemed deflated. Attendance was down a bit. Our shots weren’t falling early and then we started settling and we weren’t getting second shots. It took Nikki (Dow) and Lindsay (Honaker) mixing it up defensively to get us going.” Part of the reason for the lethargy might have been the opponent. Washington entered the match with a 14-15 record and the Lady Trojans had already dismantled them in late December at the West Coast Jamboree, 71-37. After playing Oak Ridge to a 12-10 first quarter, trailing by two points, the Eagles only scored 14 points the rest of the game. Oak Ridge played a bit better in the second quarter, outscoring the Eagles 11-4 to take a 23-14 lead into halftime, but didn’t really put things together until the third quarter. After Washington hit the opening three-pointer of the half, Oak Ridge finished the quarter on a 15-3 run to put the game away. Haley Anderson started the run with an offensive rebound and bucket and followed it with another hoop. Jenna Klein then scored and Jacki Bateman’s basket gave Oak Ridge a 31-19 lead with 4:04 to play in the quarter. Late in the quarter Oak Ridge’s two super subs, Bateman and Michelle Barkley, made back-to-back hoops and Honaker ended the quarter with a three that put the Lady Trojans up 38-20. With the trouble the Eagles had scoring through three quarters, that 18-point lead was plenty enough for the Lady Trojans. “I thought Jacki and Michelle played well and did a good job on the boards and for Michelle, that’s as physical as she’s played all year,” White said. “Now we need her to do that against the six footers.” Klein and Jenn Hoffman led the Lady Trojans with nine points, while Lauren Sende, Anderson, Barkley and Dow each scored five. Oak Ridge will host either Oakland Tech or Heritage on Saturday in the second round of Nor-Cals where only eight teams remain. “Everything is amped up now and the girls know that,” White said.