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Oak Ridge girls stay unbeaten with win over Pleasant Grove

By: Nick Pecoraro Telegraph Correspondent
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The Lady Trojans remained undefeated and moved to 6-0 in the Delta River League by defeating Pleasant Grove on Tuesday night at home, 66-40.

Ali Bettencourt led a well-balanced Oak Ridge attack with 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting as the Lady Trojans — who came back from their first loss in eight games against Heritage High out of Brentwood on Saturday — picked up their 19th win overall.

“It was a nice team effort. Everyone was able to get some quality minutes and contributed in one way or another. We had really good team defense tonight. When subs came in, they kept the energy going,” said Oak Ridge coach Steve White. “We got a little ragged in the second quarter and had a few missed defensive assignments, but we made the adjustments in the second half. It was a nice job all around.”

Late in the third, Haley Anderson ripped down an offensive rebound for a put-back. On the next possession, she fed Bettencourt for her fourth 3-pointer of the night from straight away, giving the Lady Trojans their biggest lead (22 points) to that point.

Oak Ridge was able to hold the Lady Eagles’ top shooter Avonna Lee, who averaged over 17 points per game entering Tuesday, to just five. The Lady Trojans were able to force numerous Pleasant Grove turnovers, while also producing second-chance points of their own with offensive rebounding.

Oak Ridge finished the first half with a 10-2 flurry in the final 90 seconds. Bettencourt drove left for a layup and then stole the inbound pass and drove for another layup. Oak Ridge then forced a turnover where Bettencourt hit Anderson in stride for a 15-footer before Jenn Hoffman closed out the half with another jumper that put the Lady Trojans up 32-18 at the end of the half.

“Anything I can do to get our team scoring,” said Bettencourt, who shot 5-for-8 from downtown while adding five rebounds. “We were just trying to make sure (PG) couldn’t get any easy buckets and push them out as far as we could. If we needed to, we were going to double down and make sure that nobody was going to get anything easy.”

Anderson went for 11 points and six boards while Hoffman was a pest on the defensive end, racking up four steals. Dezja James led Pleasant Grove with 16 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots.

The Lady Trojans have won their first six league games for the first time since their 2010 state championship season. It is their best start to league since joining the DRL. Oak Ridge finishes this week against Folsom on Thursday while a tough road schedule looms next week at St. Francis and Sheldon.

“We know that everyone is going to give us their best shot. We have to stay prepared and mentally focused,” said White. “These guys have been doing a nice job in practice and the way they practice has been very indicative of how they come out and play. We had a couple mediocre practices and they turned into mediocre games. It is truly a ‘practice how you play mentality’.”

“We’re going to respect everyone and fear no one,” echoed Bettencourt. “We have to just keep our minds on the main prize, which is getting back to (Sleep Train Arena) or even farther.”