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Oak Ridge girls fall short against Pleasant Grove

By: Nick Pecoraro/Telegraph Correspondent
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The Lady Trojans can’t seem to figure out how to beat Pleasant Grove. Pleasant Grove, the Delta River League’s best team at 6-0, came into Trojan gym and dealt Oak Ridge its second loss in as many games against the Lady Eagles, 56-51, on Tuesday night. Pleasant Grove has accounted for Oak Ridge’s only two league losses this year as well as snapping both of the Lady Trojans’ most recent winning streaks—one of four games and the latter of six. If you took away the two Pleasant Grove losses, Oak Ridge had won 14 out of 15 against all other opponents since Dec. 9. “(Pleasant Grove) has the pieces put together to make a deep run,” said Oak Ridge coach Steve White. “They’re long so they create matchup problems for us and they’re so athletic. I’m hoping we can recover and maybe see them somewhere down the road at a neutral site.” The Lady Eagles took a 32-19 lead into halftime as Oak Ridge shot just 22 percent from the floor and 1-of-10 from three in the first half. White challenged his squad to come out with a little more passion in the second half and Oak Ridge responded by cutting the lead to single-digits before the fourth quarter. Jenna Klein scored five straight points during a seven-point Oak Ridge run that brought the score to 43-39. The Lady Trojans then cut it to three when reserve Jackie Bateman drew a foul and—after air-balling her first attempt earlier in the third—calmly netted the ensuing two free throws to make it a one-possession game with 5:21 to go. It would be the closest that Oak Ridge would get to completing the comeback as Pleasant Grove seemed to have an answer for each Trojan basket. Avonna Lee and Dejza James combined for 32 points and 16 boards, giving Oak Ridge trouble with second-chance buckets and a nice high-low interior attack. “We just didn’t do our jobs on the boards. You’re not going to beat good teams when you give them second or third chances,” said White. “We didn’t really come out and set the tempo that we had planned to,” said Klein, who scored 11 of her 14 points in the second half. “It’s been a rivalry since last year and they’re always gunning for us. We just have to put four quarters together. You can’t beat a good team by just playing two or three.” Haley Anderson had nine points to go with 11 rebounds and Lauren Sende tallied eight points with eight boards for the Lady Trojans. Oak Ridge (17-6, 4-2 DRL) now enters a stretch where they travel to Folsom on Friday before two home games against Sheldon and St. Francis next week. White recognizes what’s at stake for his Lady Trojans. “Everything’s a playoff game for us now,” he said. “Folsom could be one of those trap games. They keep getting better and better and then next week is a killer week. We control our seeding for the playoffs; we just have to take care of business.”