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Trojan boys upset top-ranked Sheldon

By: Nick Pecoraro/Telegraph Correspondent
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The Oak Ridge boys’ basketball team had a gameplan heading into Wednesday night’s Delta River League contest against Sheldon High — the No.1 ranked team in the Sacramento area. Slow the game down and play Trojan basketball. In the end, Oak Ridge executed their plan to perfection and stunned the bigger, more athletic Huskies with a 39-35 victory. The Trojans (13-8, 2-2 DRL) snapped Sheldon’s seven-game win streak and held Huskies to their lowest output in over a year. “We were a little sloppy but I told the guys if they we’re going to mess up, do it on the offensive end and not the defensive,” said Oak Ridge coach Steve Scott. “It’s one of those deals where you believe you can do it and you prepare to do it but you don’t fully believe until it actually happens. To hold them to 35 points is unbelievable.” After collectively shooting 2-for-22 and being outscored 17-9 in the first half, Sheldon’s Kyiron Thomas began the fourth quarter with his third consecutive 3-pointer, bringing the Huskies within one. Sheldon took its first lead of the game with 5:45 left at 27-26 before Oak Ridge’s Matt Howard decided to take over the game defensively. Sheldon tied the game at 35 with under a minute to play on D’erryl Williams’ offensive put-back. Bryce Scott then found Scott Sanchez for a layup with 36 seconds left before Howard came up with the last of his four fourth-quarter steals and took it to the rim for a four-point Trojan advantage. Sheldon had four outside attempts from offensive rebounds in the final 15 seconds bang off the iron as the clock ran out and the Trojans celebrated with their student body. Howard, who sat most of the first half in foul trouble, came out re-energized in the fourth, scoring all nine of his points in the quarter and totaled six steals on the night. “Matt fortunately came in, picked it up and gave us some big buckets,” said Scott. “I just tried to play my game because I couldn’t really get in a groove during the first three quarters. I just tried to take over, find a lane and go help my team win,” said Howard. “We needed to knock off one of those top teams in league to get a playoff berth so hopefully this leads to some success there.” The Trojans didn’t lure themselves into Sheldon’s running game and played at its own half-court tempo. Scott led Oak Ridge with 15 points and 10 boards while matching Sheldon’s first half point total with nine. Sanchez also added eight points and 11 rebounds. “(Sanchez) played like a man tonight,” said Howard. “We’ve been preaching (tempo) all year. We’ve done it for a half but not in full games,” said Sanchez, who also took four charges on the night (three in the third quarter alone). “If we would have run, we would have gotten killed. This win feels fantastic.” Oak Ridge will play two road games at Ponderosa on Friday and Pleasant Grove on Wednesday before returning home next Friday against Folsom.