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Oak Ridge has tough test tonight against Heritage

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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With a berth in the Northern California championship game on the line, Oak Ridge High girls’ basketball team travels to Brentwood to face Heritage High Tuesday for a 7 p.m. game.

The teams are familiar with each other, as they met Jan. 26 in a non-league game and the Patriots trounced the Lady Trojans by 19 points, 55-36. Last season, Oak Ridge knocked Heritage from the Nor-Cal playoffs with a 44-29 victory and if the Lady Trojans can do it again, they’d reach the Nor-Cal championship game Saturday at Sleep Train Arena.

The game in January is not an indication as to how the teams match up. The final score shows that Oak Ridge played poorly, but after the game coach Steve White took part of the blame for his team’s performance.

“I didn’t have the team ready to play,” White said. “It was 26-22 at the half and we played even worse in the second half. We didn’t play very well and they did.”

There’s a big difference between a non-league game in the middle of the league season and the Northern California playoffs and White expects a much better performance. He knows his team will have to play well to win.

“We have to take care of the basketball and be patient versus their zone defense,” White said. “They’re really active and lanky and that makes it hard to pass over them. They have a strong post player, a 3-point shooter and a slasher/driver type player who’s fast. We have our work cut out for us. We’ve been fortunate the first few rounds to face teams with one main player, but Heritage is good everywhere.”