Dominating on the offensive and defensive glass, the Oak Ridge Lady Trojans advanced to the semifinals of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs after a hard-fought 52-37 victory over visiting Monterey Trail Thursday night.
“Rebounding was really important for us. In the first half they weren’t really boxing out that well, so we got a lot of offensive rebounds and made a lot of putbacks,” said Trojans forward and captain Haley Anderson, who led Oak Ridge with 23 points.
Anderson set the tone for the Trojans, scoring the first nine points before Grace Derksen added a lay in. With two seconds left in the quarter, Shelby Peters made a basket while being fouled. Though she missed the shot from the charity stripe, Michelle Barkley grabbed the rebound and her return just beat the buzzer to give Oak Ridge a 15-8 after eight minutes of play.
The Trojans broke the game open in the second quarter. An Anderson layup followed by a pair of Barkley free throws gave Oak Ridge a 19-8 lead and she answered a Monterey Trail layup with a bank shot. Jenna Ford then scored consecutive layups and was left wide open under the basket on an inbound pass to push the lead to 27-10.
The Mustangs fought hard and wouldn’t go away but after a Jasmine Redmon three-pointer, Derksen came back down and countered with a long trey. Redmon sank another shot from downtown that Yumi Drossos answered and despite Redmon’s third trey, Oak Ridge still was comfortably ahead 33-19 at the break.
A pair of Jasmine Chapman three-pointers to open the second half pulled the Mustangs within eight and after an Anderson hoop, Monterey Trail made consecutive baskets to trim the score, 35-29. Troy’s Ali Bettencourt, held scoreless to that point, knocked down a three-pointer and had a block on the other end that led to an Anderson jumper. Following a Mustang layup, Barkley, who contributed six points in the win, ended the quarter with a layup as Oak Ridge was up 42-31 entering the fourth.
Peters opened the final period with a jumper and Anderson added to the lead with a layup off an inbound pass from Bettencourt. Derksen, who scored seven points on the night, stuck a three-pointer with 4:51 left to ice the victory.
“We got a good effort from everybody. We had some kids who had an off night, but there were others that filled in and played well,” Trojan head coach Steve White said.
Oak Ridge (25-3) will now face Kennedy in the semifinals Thursday at the University of Pacific in Stockton.
“It’s two programs who know each other well. We’re similar in makeup; they have a team that plays well together and we have a team that plays well together, so I expect a great game,” White said.