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Trojans drop second straight game, fall to Sheldon, 64-46

By: Nick Pecoraro/Telegraph Correspondent
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Every good team will inevitably go through its rough patches. After a challenging midway-point of the Delta River League schedule, the Oak Ridge boys’ basketball team is no exception. After starting their 2010-11 season with 19 straight wins, the longest such win-streak since they connected 21 straight victories between the end of the 2005 state championship year and the beginning of the ‘05-‘06 season, the Trojans have suffered two straight DRL losses. In a highly anticipated match-up between the top two teams in the Sacramento area, the Huskies displayed why they are the area’s top team by defeating the Trojans, 64-46. “Every good team has to go through a stretch like this. I call it AP basketball and we’re trying to learn as fast as we can in this league,” said Oak Ridge coach Bob Christensen. “Sheldon is so athletic and long that it’s tough for us to match up with them. We needed to play a near perfect game just to stay close.” The Huskies began the second quarter with a tenacious 12-0 run that ignited the Sheldon crowd and put the Trojans in a 10-point hole with five minutes left in the half. Oak Ridge remained in that hole at halftime after being outscored 22-10 in the quarter. The Huskies’ lead continued to increase throughout the second half as Oak Ridge had trouble attacking the paint and settling for contested jumpshots. The Trojans, down 20 in the fourth quarter, tried to make a run around the five-minute mark, but could not get closer than 16 points. “We knew that (Sheldon) was averaging around 80 points per game in league so we wanted to keep it a low-scoring game. Offensively, we just didn’t produce like we thought we would,” said Oak Ridge guard DJ Leszczynski, who chipped in eight points for the Trojans. “They’re quick and have good size, so that would cause problems for anyone.” Oak Ridge held a slim lead after one quarter. After Sheldon forward Darius Nelson tied the game at 11 with his third three-pointer of the quarter, John Cunningham answered at the other end by grabbing an offensive rebound and sending it home to give the Trojans a 13-11 cushion after one. A normally productive Oak Ridge bench was outscored by the Huskies’ reserves, 19-7. Bryce Scott led the Trojans with 13 points while Tyler Simms added 10. The University of Texas, El Paso-bound Nelson led the Huskies with 21 points and 11 rebounds. “We’ve learned so much more about ourselves in these two losses that maybe were disguised in our wins in the preseason,” Christensen noted. “We needed this experience and we need to go through these growing pains and learn from it.” The Trojans (3-2 DRL, 19-2) will have a chip on their shoulders this week as Sheldon comes to Oak Ridge on Friday night.