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Oak Ridge needs to find its shooting touch

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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There are a lot of things in a coach’s control and then there are things that no one can control.

Oak Ridge High’s varsity boys’ basketball team is playing great defense through six games this season, defense that should be good enough to help an average offensive team win some games.

The Trojans, however, are struggling to score, as the roster isn’t filled with many top-notch shooters. For Scott, there’s not much he can do to improve the team’s shooting woes, which is agonizing for all involved.

“It’s very frustrating,” Scott said. “We’re playing great defense, but we’re having trouble scoring. We held a strong Chico team to 56 points, which was their season-low point total by far, but we only scored 33. You can’t win scoring only 33 points. We’re getting good looks, but we’re just not knocking down shots. We’re really struggling.”

The week didn’t start out that way. Thursday in the first-round game of the Pleasant Valley Tournament against undefeated College Park, the Trojans, 3-3 on the year, played its best game of the season and won 59-42. Oak Ridge broke open a 15-14 game by outscoring College Park 20-3 in the second quarter. The 35-17 halftime lead stayed about the same throughout the second half, as the Trojans won its third game of the season.

“It was one of our best games of the season,” Scott said. “We defended well and shot the ball really well and we just played a solid game. Grant Dean led us with 13 points and we shot well over 50 percent from the field. Josh Simms did a great job at the point.”

Following Friday’s disappointing offensive performance against Chico, things got even worse Saturday, as Oak Ridge managed only 30 points in a 47-30 loss to host Pleasant Valley.

“Again, we got good looks and we’re not turning the ball over, but we only shot 21 percent from the field and 41 percent from the free throw line,” Scott said. “It’s tough. The guys are trying and I’m not disappointed with them; it’s just that our shots aren’t falling right now and everyone is frustrated. We were bummed after playing so well in the first game of the tournament.”

With the graduation of leading offensive players Bryce Scott, Scott Sanchez and Matt Howard a year ago, the Trojans are young and most players are being cast in unfamiliar roles this season. The learning curve has some players struggling. Scott isn’t panicking, however. He knows that sooner or later the shots have to start falling.

“I knew coming into this season that we had a challenge offensively,” he said. “Right now, the guys we need to score are not shooting well. We’re also shooting under 50 percent from the free throw line and that’s hurting us too, but that will change. The guys are learning and trying, but we’ve just got to figure it out.”

Bryan Bare was Oak Ridge’s lone representative on the all-tournament team.

Things don’t get any easier for the Trojans. They travel to Yuba City Tuesday before playing in the Running with the Pack Tournament at Cosumnes Oaks Thursday through Sunday; a tournament Scott said will be the toughest of the three they’ve played in thus far this season.