Trojans face must-win game at Ponderosa Tuesday after loss to Sheldon

By: Nick Pecoraro/Telegraph Correspondent
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Between Oak Ridge High’s varsity boys’ basketball team and a trip to the playoffs lies archrival Ponderosa.

The Bruins have yet to win a game in the Delta River League in nine chances and have already lost a spirited game to the Trojans, 50-40, on Jan. 25. However, making the trip to an archrival’s gym,  no matter what their record, and absolutely having to win the game is a daunting task. The Bruins would love nothing more than to spoil Oak Ridge’s chances at a postseason berth and will be ready. And so will their fans.

Tuesday’s game in Shingle Springs should be a good one.

 “We’ve had two bad games in a row, so we have to regroup,” Oak Ridge coach Steve Scott said. “The kids have to decide that we want to win. They have to commit themselves to the things that we committed to all year, working hard defensively, rebounding, playing together.”

“Now it’s win or go home against Pondo. We’d better be ready,” said Simms, who remembered last year’s deflating loss against the Bruins in the season finale. “Hopefully, we can get redemption from last year.”

Oak Ridge (4-5 in league, 14-12 overall) is coming off a pair of losses last week, including a 74-47 loss to top-ranked Sheldon Friday.  The Trojans couldn’t hold the offense of the uber athletic Huskies in check. Sheldon played up to its standing and crushed the Trojans.

Sheldon was in control of the game from the tip, getting off to a 13-2 start through the first four minutes of the first quarter. Scott went with an all-senior starting five.

“The mindset was to play hard and do the best that we could. (Sheldon) is a really good team,” said Scott. “We wanted to run our stuff and prevent them from getting to the rim and get out in transition. All those things that we didn’t want to happen happened.”

There were few bright spots for the Trojans. They built a 10-0 run in the third quarter to chip away at the massive Sheldon lead. Senior Brandon Williams, who normally sees limited minutes off the bench, scored 11 of Oak Ridge’s 22 points in the fourth quarter, including three 3-pointers.

“We just came out terrible, scared almost. They (Sheldon) are a good team, but we just got embarrassed,” said Oak Ridge senior Josh Simms.

Williams led Oak Ridge with all of his 11 points coming in that fourth-quarter stretch. Sergio Quilici pounded inside for nine points and seven rebounds. Sheldon had four players in double digits, led by Antonio Lewis, who posted 15 points.

Oak Ridge honored its seniors before the game, including Evan Gross, Brandon Williams, Bryan Bare, Josh Simms, Tyler Hatten, Sergio Quilici and Jalan Davis.