Trojans don't score enough to beat Pleasant Grove, lose 42-37By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
Defense might win championships, but teams need to be able to score too.
Oak Ridge High’s varsity boys’ basketball team has struggled to score against the better teams this season, as their rock solid defense can only do so much.
That was the case Wednesday when the Trojans held Pleasant Grove to 42 points, but still lost by five, 42-37.
“We don’t have the offensive firepower to beat these top teams and that’s what’s keeping us from doing it,” Oak Ridge coach Steve Scott said. “We play the best defense around, but right now we don’t have the offense. Connor Sende had a great stretch for us tonight, but we need to be more consistent.”
The loss dropped the Trojans to 3-3 in the Delta River League and 13-10 overall, while Pleasant Grove improved to 5-1 in the league and 18-4 overall.
Oak Ridge had a dismal first quarter, being outscored 16-8 on their home floor. Tyler Hatten scored the game’s first basket and it was the team’s only lead of the night, as Malik Thames countered with a three-pointer, one of four the Eagles hit in the quarter. Midway through the first quarter Oak Ridge trailed 6-5, but the Eagles scored 10 unanswered points before Brandon Williams ended the quarter with a three-point to cut the deficit to eight.
“Even though we fell behind, we didn’t panic and we stuck to the game plan,” Scott said. “We were down by one in the fourth quarter and that’s all you can ask.”
The rest of the game the Trojan defense was solid, holding an explosive Pleasant Grove team to only six points in the second quarter and eight in the third. Despite the poor first quarter, the Trojans only trailed by one point, 30-29, with 6:52 remaining in the game.
Oak Ridge, however, only made one field goal the rest of the way, along with six free throws, and Pleasant Grove held on for the win.
“We weren’t aggressive enough on offense,” Scott said. “Everything was east-west and there wasn’t enough north-south.”
Josh Simms scored 11 points, seven coming on free throws, to lead the Trojans, while Connor Sende added eight points.
“We played pretty good defense, but we needed to take more charges and get them in foul trouble,” Oak Ridge center Tyler Hatten said.
Scott said despite the loss, he’s still happy with where his team is at with four league games remaining.
“I’m really proud of them,” Scott said. “If we would have played Pleasant Grove a month and a half ago we would have lost by 30. We’re at a good place. We’ve played Sheldon tough and we’ve played these guys tough twice now. We just have to find a way to knock one of them off now.”