Trojans fall to Monterey Trail in overtime, 65-63

Dean scores 27 points in loss
By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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A young team must learn how to win close games and Oak Ridge found out the hard way on Thursday in the first round of the Jack Scott Tournament at Rio Americano High School.

The Trojans led Monterey Trail 63-58 after a basket by Josh Simms with 1:05 remaining in overtime, but Oak Ridge stumbled down the stretch and the Mustangs capitalized. Two free throws cut Oak Ridge’s lead to 63-60 and Oak Ridge missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity at the other end, which left the door open for a game-tying three-pointer by  Leondre Lintz, who tied the score with his wide-open look with 36 seconds remaining.

Oak Ridge held for a final shot, but Bryan Bare was stripped of the ball going up for the shot and in turn was called for a foul trying to get the ball back. With three-tenths of a second remaining, Lintz drained both his free throws and the Mustangs came back to win the game, 65-63.

“We turned the ball over, missed a free throw and allowed a wide open three and that’s what happens sometimes with a young team,” Oak Ridge coach Steve Scott said. “It wasn’t any one guy; it was a collective meltdown as a group. Hopefully, we learn from this. We didn’t execute well and free throws were a problem again. We didn’t shoot a lot of them, but we’ve got to start making more than we are now.”

The loss tainted a marvelous game by Oak Ridge junior Grant Dean, who scored 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, not to mention adding a pair of assists and blocked shots. Dean did it all for the Trojans, from the obvious like scoring and rebounding to the stuff that doesn’t show up in the box score like chasing down loose balls, setting solid screens and playing well defensively.

“Grant was our best player and had an amazing game,” Scott said. “Best game I’ve ever seen him play. He was outstanding.”

Oak Ridge led 16-11 after the first quarter, a quarter in which it scored the final 10 points, five apiece by Dean and Josh Simms, who finished with 16. The Trojans, however, struggled for much of the rest of the game and needed a three-pointer by Dean with three seconds remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime.

Oak Ridge plays at 5:30 p.m. today against Center in the second round of the tournament.