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Oak Ridge suddenly slumping

By: Matt Long
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Despite a four-game losing streak, Oak Ridge varsity boys’ basketball coach Bob Christensen remains optimistic. After winning 19 games to start the season, it seems like a long time since the Trojans have won a game. In fact, it was 2 ½ weeks ago on Jan. 21 when Oak Ridge defeated Ponderosa to start Delta River League play with a 3-0 record. Since then the team has lost four straight, albeit to tough competition, dropping a pair of games to Sheldon and one each to Jesuit and Pleasant Grove. “That 19 wins could have been the worst thing that could have happened to us,” Christensen said. “What are you going to do, though, tell them to lose a game? Part of the trouble is the unbalanced schedule, having to play Sheldon twice in a week along with Pleasant Grove and Jesuit. We will bounce back, though.” It’s hard to believe a team that started the year with 19 straight wins might not host a playoff game, but that could be the case. After two losses the Trojans sat ninth in the Division I power rankings and two more losses moved them down to 16th, the last playoff spot, with three games remaining before the postseason. Oak Ridge gets its second shot at Pleasant Grove today before finishing league play with a pair of home games against the two teams at the bottom of the league standings, Folsom on Friday and Ponderosa on Feb. 18. The Trojans dropped to 3-4 in league play following a 70-56 home loss to Sheldon on Friday. Oak Ridge trailed Sheldon by two, 28-26, with three minutes to play in the first half before the explosive Huskies went on a 10-2 run to finish the half and take a 38-28 lead into the break. Bryce Scott opened the second half with a bucket to cut the lead to eight and that’s as close as the Trojans would get to the lead the rest of the game. The Huskies were just too athletic, too long and too good. Sheldon dominated Oak Ridge at the foul line, making 27-of-33 free throws while Oak Ridge made six out of only nine attempts. Making matters worse, the Trojans’ shooting woes continued, as they made only 36 percent of their shot attempts, while Sheldon converted on 44 percent. “We’re just going through a difficult stretch and the strength of the Delta River League is what’s causing it, “ Christensen said. “It’s a tough league and every team needs to go through a stretch like this to be successful in the end. We’ve got good chemistry; we’re tough, but now we’ve got to fight through the adversity. I believe we’re slowing getting through it.” Christensen said the team played well at times, getting back to sharing the ball as they did during their 19-game winning streak, but at other times, the team struggled. Tyler Simms led the Trojans with 12 points, while Bryce Scott finished with 11. DJ Leszczynski scored nine, while Scott Sanchez and Will Findlay both had eight. Oak Ridge began the week with a 64-54 loss on the road to Jesuit. Oak Ridge opened league play on Jan. 12 with an 82-66 overtime win over the Marauders.