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Trojans slip up and lose to Jesuit, 52-45

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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Oak Ridge High’s varsity boys’ basketball team figured it would need to win one of their remaining three games to guarantee a berth in the playoffs.

Wednesday night the Trojans lost what might have been considered the easiest of the three to win, dropping a 52-45 decision on their home floor to Jesuit, a team they had previously beaten, 51-37.

Now the Trojans, 4-4 in the Delta River League and 14-11 overall, must pick up a win against either top-ranked Sheldon, who they play at home Friday on senior night, or Ponderosa, who they play Tuesday on the road.

Oak Ridge entered Wednesday’s game against Jesuit coming off an emotional win over Folsom Friday and despite the big upcoming game with Sheldon, Coach Steve Scott didn’t characterize Jesuit as a trap game.

“We talked about all week how important this game was so the guys knew it,” Scott said. “We just didn’t play great and some guys played poorly.”

Right from the start, Oak Ridge didn’t look like their normal selves. They never held a lead bigger than three points and trailed for nearly the entire final three quarters after winning the first quarter, 9-8.

Despite leading after one quarter, Oak Ridge didn’t really even play well.

“We came out so flat with very little energy,” senior guard Josh Simms said. “On top of that, we didn’t make many shots all night, none of us. It was very frustrating.”

For the record, Oak Ridge made 15 baskets in the game with Bryan Bare and Tyler Hatten each making three. Jalan Davis, who played the final 90 seconds or so of the game, made two baskets, as did Connor Sende.

The Trojans hit rock bottom in the third quarter. Trailing by one to start the second half, Oak Ridge was outscored 17-7 in the quarter and made only two baskets to go along with three free throws.  Bare hit the opening bucket of the quarter and Hatten scored with 4:50 to play. Their three free throws are all they managed the rest of the quarter.

Oak Ridge had a little momentum in the fourth quarter following a three-point play by Simms and a bucket by Evan Gross, trailing 45-39 with 2:45 to play, but Jesuit scored the next four points to effectively secure the win.

Oak Ridge had 10 players score, but none more than Sende’s eight points. Bare, Grant Dean, Simms and Hatten all finished with six points. Jesuit only have five players score, but four were in double digits. Lake Lutes led the team with 13 points and Nick Hilton scored 11. Isiah King and Isaiah Bailey both scored 10 points, while Brady Anderson finished with eight.

“We struggled to execute tonight,” Scott said. “We tried several different combinations, but we had a hard time. This is a tough pill to swallow. You’ve got to give some credit to Jesuit.”

While disappointed with the loss, Simms said it wouldn’t impact the team’s play Friday. While Simms didn’t predict a win, he believes his team could win if they play their game.

“We have to come out on fire with a lot of energy; get back on defense and not let them run the floor and hit some shots,” Simms said.