Oak Ridge High’s backcourt of Jenna Klein and Jenn Hoffman combined for 19 points as the Lady Trojans led start to finish in their 44-29 NorCal victory over Heritage-Brentwood Saturday night in El Dorado Hills.
Dealing with the Patriot’s physicality wasn’t pretty but Oak Ridge effectively grinded its way to next week’s semifinals where Troy will see top-seed Berkeley, the team that eliminated the Trojans last year.
The vibe in Oak Ridge’s gym was markedly different from Wednesday’s NorCal opener that saw the Trojans get past Washington in a rather flat performance.
“We didn’t have good energy last game but knew we had to have a lot tonight and a bigger crowd helped in that regard,” said Klein after she finished meeting several college recruiters. “They (Heritage) were very physical and we had to get tough and match it. I thought we moved the ball around and shared it well which worked to our advantage.”
Klein’s three-pointer fell in between two drives by Hoffman as Oak Ridge shot to a 7-0 lead. Unlike Wednesday when the Trojans enjoyed a height advantage, Saturday they didn’t but in both cases the visitors didn’t show much offensive prowess. The Patriots didn’t score until 6:21 had elapsed in the first quarter.
“Our style has been ugly. We’ve gone to a bigger lineup that’s allowed us to match up with bigger teams. Tonight we also had good guard play which was good to see,” Oak Ridge coach Steve White said.
Hoffman proved she could sink the three evidenced by the section final and she hit another three against Washington. Saturday her passing was on display. After scoring five quick points to answer the Pat’s score to open the third quarter, she split the seam with a pass ahead to Michelle Barkley for the score, found Nikki Dow wide open on the wing for an uncontested bucket and saved her best for last on a wrap-around to Lauren Sende on the baseline.
“We knew we could beat them if we brought the energy and moved the ball around,” Hoffman said. “We didn’t know too much about them other than they had a guard who could shoot threes and a tall post.”
Oak Ridge did a good job late in the shot clock and hitting tough shots. Jacki Bateman hit one of her two threes as time ran down as did Haley Anderson on a turn-around jumper in addition to the aforementioned Hoffman-Barkley connection. Klein, Sende, and Katie Hoisington also each hit pressure shots on taller defenders.
“What we knew is that they (Heritage) were good defensively so we had to be patient on offense and play it (offense) longer than they defended. It helped to hit clutch shots,” White said.
Bateman and Barkley each had six points, Sende and Dow had four, Hoisington, three, and Anderson, two.