Sanchez has impressive debut

By: Matt Long
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For the third straight tournament, Oak Ridge High’s varsity boys dropped two of three games, as their record fell to 4-6 on the year. Oak Ridge opened the Rocklin Tournament with a 65-61 loss to Del Oro on Thursday and then lost to Inderkum on Friday, 67-60, before finishing the tournament with a 61-39 win over Reno on Saturday. Despite the two losses, the highlight for the Trojans was the play of sophomore Scott Sanchez, who in his first three varsity games, averaged 13 points and eight rebounds. Sanchez opened the tournament with a 15 point, nine rebound performance against Del Oro and then scored 16 points and had 12 rebounds in the loss to Inderkum. He finished the tournament scoring eight points and grabbing five rebounds against Reno. Sanchez was brought up from the junior varsity team because of a knee injury to senior Trevor Bratton. “Trevor’s a guy who averaged 12 points and 9 rebounds for us, so it’s a big loss,” Oak Ridge coach Bob Christensen said. “Scott started tonight (Thursday) and played well in his varsity debut.” Even though the Trojans outscored the Golden Eagles in three of the four quarters, a 22-7 disadvantage in the second quarter was enough to cost them the game. The Trojans didn’t score a until Sanchez knocked down a free throw with 3:49 to play in the half and only made two field goals in the quarter: one by Connor Benander with 3:20 to play and the last by Myles Suchan as the buzzer sounded at the half. “They hit some shots against our zone and I probably should have pulled us out of it,” Christensen said. Senior Zack McMillen, who ended the game with six points, all coming in the third quarter, said the team’s play in the second quarter showed their youth. “We’re young and sometimes we think that bad things are going to happen and we’ve got to get that thought out of our heads,” McMillen said. “ We won the statistics for three quarters, but that second quarter hurt us. It’s a learning process.” Oak Ridge rallied in the second half after being down 31-17 at the break. Matt Mendoza and Tyler Simms both scored five points in the third quarter to spark the team, along with McMillen. The Trojans rallied even more in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Eagles 26-17. Sanchez scored 10 points in the fourth, but had help with six points from Bryce Scott and five each by Simms and DJ Leszczynski. Oak Ridge got as close as four points in the final minute, but couldn’t get any closer. Del Oro held a big advantage at the foul line in a key statistic, scoring 23 points at the line to Oak Ridge’s eight. “The comeback was because of our energy, effort and passion, things we’re trying to do,” Christensen said. Following Sanchez’ 15 points, Simms finished with 10 points and Scott ended with eight. Oak Ridge fell behind Inderkum 16-10 after the first quarter and trailed 37-26 at halftime. Like the previous game against Del Oro, Oak Ridge played better in the second half, outscoring the opponent 34-30, but couldn’t come all the way back. Sanchez led the way with 16 points, while Simms added 13 and Leszczynski scored 10. Oak Ridge finished the tourney with an easy 22-point win over Reno. Scott was the top scorer with 13 points, while Simms scored 12 and Leszczynski and Sanchez both added eight. The Trojans travel to Yuba City today and then host the Trojan Toss-Up Dec. 28-30.