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Oak Ridge places third at Shoot Out Tournament

By: Matt Long Telegraph Sports Editor
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At this point in the season, the Oak Ridge girls’ basketball team is doing it with defense. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, really, as playing good defense requires great desire and effort mixed in with some athleticism and smarts. The team’s offense, however, is still a work in progress. The Lady Trojans placed third in their own Shoot Out Tournament held last week, picking up wins on Thursday and Saturday, while losing on Friday. The team’s record is 4-3 as they look forward to a week’s worth of practice leading into their next game on Dec. 21 at the Toss-Up Tournament. Oak Ridge opened the Shoot Out Tournament on Thursday with a 61-48 win over El Dorado. The Cougars played them tough, as Oak Ridge led by only four, 34-30, at halftime. An 18-10 advantage in the third quarter gave the Lady Trojans a 52-40 lead and they held on for the win. Jenna Klein led the way with 15 points, while Jenn Hoffman scored 10. Kaitlyn Lendrum added nine points, while Jenna Ford finished with eight. Nothing came easy for the Oak Ridge Friday night, as they struggled to score against Lincoln of Stockton in a game they never led and trailed most of the way by five to eight points. The Lady Trojans, however, play by the motto NPH, meaning nobody plays harder, and the girls battled for 32 minutes and nearly pulled off the win before losing 39-37. Defense clearly kept Oak Ridge in the game, as they limited Lincoln to 11 points in the first quarter and eight in the second. Oak Ridge only made 12 baskets in the game, including one in the first quarter and two in the fourth. Trailing 35-25 entering the fourth quarter, Oak Ridge began to knock down some free throws, which helped them catch up, as Klein and Lauren Sende knocked down a pair surrounding a three-pointer by Katie Hoisington, the team’s only one of the night, which made the score 39-34 with 3:03 to play. After the teams took turns missing free throws, Haley Anderson was fouled while attempting a three-point shot and made all three of her foul shots to cut the deficit to two, 39-37 with 45.5 seconds to play. Oak Ridge had two chances to win the game, but Hoisington couldn’t get off a clean three with 32.8 seconds to play and turned the ball over, while Klein’s long desperation attempt at the buzzer felt short. “The nice thing is that we gave ourselves an opportunity to win,” Oak Ridge coach Steve White said. “We did some good things defensively, while the team struggled offensively so you have to be happy that we had an opportunity to win it. We just have to keep working and try to get better. The kids have to starting trying to do what we’re asking them to do, so we know if they can do it or if we have to try something else.” Sende scored 10 points in the loss, while Anderson added eight. Klein scored six, while Hoisington and Jacki Bateman chipped in five. Oak Ridge finished the tournament with a 46-30 win over Clovis West on Saturday, a game in which the team’s strong defensive play continued, much to the pleasure of White. “To hold a pretty explosive team to 39 and then to do it again and allow 30 the following night is pretty good,” White said. “If you would have told me that we would have held two of our opponents to under 40 points before the tournament, I would have liked our chances to win those games. We obviously would have liked to win all three games, but to take two out of three in this tough field, I think it’s a pretty good tournament for us. We’re starting to click defensively and that’s nice to see.” Anderson led the team with 12 points against Clovis West and earned a spot on the all-tournament team. Sende and Michelle Barkley both scored eight in the win. “Offensively, we need to value the ball better,” White said. “We had far too many turnovers. We had a couple of poor shooting games too, but that will come around. On Saturday the girls were doing the things that we asked them to do and that was nice to see and we’re going to build upon that.”