Trailing by only one at halftime, the Oak Ridge Trojans were outscored 17-7 in the third quarter in a 52-45 loss to visiting Jesuit Wednesday. Oak Ridge falls to 4-4 in the Delta River League and 14-11 overall.
“We struggled to execute all night long. Didn’t matter who we put in there, we had a hard time. I give Jesuit a lot of credit, but we just didn’t execute,” Trojan coach Steve Scott said.
An Isaiah King jumper gave the visiting Marauders an early advantage to start but Tyler Hatten answered with a layup followed by a Matt Battaglia three-pointer. Sergio Quilici pitched in a bucket, and the Trojans led 9-8 at the conclusion of the first quarter.
Grant Dean opened the second quarter as Oak Ridge reclaimed a 15-14 advantage as Bryan Bare spun to the hoop for a bucket. After a Connor Sende tip-in, Brandon Williams added a free throw, Sende scored again and Dean earned a trip to the charity stripe and knocked down both as Oak Ridge trailed 22-23 at half.
Jesuit separated themselves in the third period after a Bare layup opened the half. The Marauders ended the quarter on a 7-0 run, taking a commanding 40-29 lead to the final period.
Troy maintained its composure and mounted a rally in the fourth. A Josh Simms 3-point play followed by an Evan Gross jumper pulled Oak Ridge within six but Isaiah Bailey answered with a reverse layup. Jalan Davis countered with a layup and trey for the Trojans but it was too late as Jesuit held the hosts off.
Oak Ridge now needs to win either at home against Sheldon or on the road at Ponderosa to clinch a playoff spot.
“We don’t want to have to have it come down to that last game at Ponderosa, but Sheldon’s a really good team. Tonight was a tough loss for us,” coach Scott said.