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Trojans open playoffs at Golden Valley

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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Steve Scott and his players on the Oak Ridge varsity boys’ basketball team didn’t know if they’d even be in the playoffs prior to beating Ponderosa Feb. 12.

With that said, the team was pleased to have simply made the playoffs, let alone be the 13th-seed. Oak Ridge (15-13) opens the playoffs tonight in Merced against fourth-seeded Golden Valley (23-4). The Cougars have obviously had an outstanding season with only four losses, but Scott is thrilled to have the opportunity to play them.

“I’ve watched them on film and talked to a lot of coaches about them and I’ve learned they’ve got a big player who is athletic and they have a couple of decent shooters on the perimeter,” Scott said. “That said, I think it’s the type of team that we match up well with.”

Scott likes where his team is sitting in the bracket. Despite the fact the Trojans are seeded 13th, the coach likes his team’s chances to make a run in the postseason.

“We didn’t even know if we’d be in the playoffs until the end, but I couldn’t ask for a better spot than where we are at,” Scott said. “I’m happy with who we play and might play and I think they are teams we can beat. It’s just a matter of going out and doing it, which we, of course, still have to do.”

If the Trojans upset Golden Valley tonight, they would either head to fifth-seeded Granite Bay or 12-seeded Bethel Friday. The winner of that game would likely face top-seeded Sheldon at Sleep Train Arena Feb. 27.

The Trojans enter tonight’s game feeling good about their chances. They ended the regular season Feb. 12 with a 46-44 win on the road against Ponderosa, which secured a playoff berth and then had a couple strong practices leading up to tonight’s game.

“We had two of the best practices we’ve had all year,” Scott said. “Coming off the win over Ponderosa, we knew we needed to be a lot tougher and do a better job around the basket. We challenged our bigs last week and they responded very well and finished strong. Our perimeter guys did a good job of getting the ball inside and relocating. All the things we’ve been working on all year, it started clicking and the guys understand what we are trying to do and why. We’ll see what happens now that we’re in the playoffs.”