Oak Ridge basketball teams have different paths to section semisBy: Staff Report
Oak Ridge High’s basketball teams have different challenges facing them.
The Lady Trojans are seeded second in the Division I playoffs with a 23-3 record, while the varsity boys’ team (15-12) earned a 13 seed.
While the girls have the luxury of two home games before hitting the road to a neutral site in Stockton if they reach the semifinals, the boys open the playoffs Wednesday two hours away against fourth-seeded Golden Valley (23-4), which is located in Merced.
If the Trojans pull the upset, they would likely play what would feel like a home game compared to the trip to Merced, as fifth-seeded Granite Bay (19-8) figures to get by 12th-seeded Bethel. If Bethel (14-13) pulls the upset, then the Trojans would head to Vallejo, about half the distance than the trip to Golden Valley. Both the semifinals and finals will be played at Sleep Train Arena Feb. 22 and March 2, respectively, if they were to make it that far. Top-seeded Sheldon, who has already beaten Oak Ridge twice this season, would likely be the foe if the Trojans reached the semifinals. Pleasant Grove, another team with two wins over the Trojans, is the No. 2 seed and is favored to reach the finals on the other side of the bracket.
The girls host the Stagg (13-14)/Bella Vista (17-10) winner on Tuesday and if they win the girls would then host the Monterey Trail (19-8) /Lincoln of Stockton (16-9) winner on Feb. 21. Oak Ridge knocked Lincoln out of the playoffs in the second round a year ago, 48-41. The semifinals will be played at the University of the Pacific on Feb. 28 with the finals slated for Sleep Train Arena on March 2. Kennedy (21-5), the third seed, would be the likely opponent in the semis, while St. Mary’s (25-2) is the top-seeded team on the other half of the bracket. Kennedy defeated Oak Ridge, 62-58, in last year’s Sac-Joaquin Section title game.