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Trojans face Bella Vista Wednesday

By: Matt Long
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A 17-10 record earned the Oak Ridge varsity boys basketball team the 13th seed in the Division II section basketball playoffs. The Trojans travel to Bella Vista tonight at 7 p.m. for a first-round playoff game. The Broncos, 21-6, tied El Camino for the Capital Athletic League championship with a 9-1 record. Bella Vista had a very good run through league against some tough teams, Oak Ridge coach Rob Skaggs said. We've got to go on the road and we're hoping to play our best basketball. Defense is huge in the playoffs, and offensively we'll have to do our stuff. The winner of the game will play the Ponderosa/Yuba City winner on Friday. A fourth Oak Ridge/Ponderosa game would be intriguing, but Skaggs won't think about that until it happens. It would be nice if we get there, Skaggs said, but we've got plenty to worry about with Bella Vista. Oak Ridge was riding a four-game winning streak prior to Friday's loss at Ponderosa. In fact, the Bruins are the only team to beat Oak Ridge since Cordova beat them on Jan. 18. The Bruins clamped down defensively in a big way on the Trojans on Friday, holding them to only 22 points in a 50-22 win. The Trojans scored five points apiece in the first and second quarters and six points each in the third and fourth quarters. From an Oak Ridge standpoint, it wasn't pretty. We never found any rhythm offensively and we didn't play well defensively, Skaggs said. That's not a good combination. On top of that Ponderosa had a good game. Earlier in the week, Oak Ridge defeated Cordova in overtime, 54-50 on Tuesday, while beating Union Mine, 64-57 on Wednesday. Colin Johnson scored 31 points against the Diamondbacks, carrying the team to victory. Johnson shot the lights out, making six-of-eight 3-point attempts and connecting on seven-of-eight free throws. He also added four rebounds, four blocked shots and two assists in the win. Oak Ridge led most of the way, except for most of the second quarter and a few minutes in the third. The Trojans took the lead for good when Zack McMillen, fresh off a promotion from the junior varsity team, canned a 3-pointer with 3:03 to play in the third quarter, putting Oak Ridge up 39-37. The Trojans led by as many as 14 points in the fourth quarter, 54-40 with 3:29 to play, but Union Mine made a valiant comeback, going on a 15-6 run and cutting the lead to five with about 40 seconds to play. Johnson and Mat Craig both hit a pair of free throws late to secure the win. Ryan Mastella added 11 points, while Darin Tuttle scored 10 in the win. In the overtime win over Cordova on Feb. 12, Ryan Mastella and Johnson both scored 20 points, while McMillen chipped in eight. Mastella hit four-of-eight 3-pointers, while Johnson connected on three-of-four and added seven rebounds and four assists. Even though the Trojans are a low seed at 13, it's possible for them to make a run at the section title. We've definitely gotten better as the year has gone on, Skaggs said. There are a lot of good teams in Division II and I think there good be some upsets. We're going to have to be firing on all cylinders and we're going to have to do it for several nights we want to win a section title.