Lady Trojan Jenna Klein protects the ball as she looks to score. Village Life photo by Shelly Thorene
After a very successful season in which they went 20-7 overall and 7-3 in Delta River League play, the Oak Ridge Lady Trojans came into Tuesday’s playoff opener against visiting Grant with a sense of urgency and walloped the Pacers from start to finish in a 76-36 rout.
“It’s playoff time, and there’s no room for any hiccups,” Oak Ridge coach Steve White said.
Troy took early control as a free throw followed by two layups by Haley Anderson sparked a dominate first quarter. After a Raynell Lynn layup brought the score to 9-5 in favor of the Trojans, Jenna Klein connected on the first of her three, three-pointers to spark Oak Ridge to a 22-11 advantage going into the second quarter.
“We know the importance of getting out to an early start. When our game plan is working, we can really control the flow of the game,” Klein said.
Oak Ridge held the visiting Pacers scoreless through the first three minutes of the second quarter, racing out to a 30-11 lead. Grant’s Adrianna Joaquin connected on a deep three with 38 seconds left and made a free throw with three ticks remaining to get Grant within 35-19 at the half.
The Trojans crushed any Pacer hopes of a comeback in the third quarter. After a few minutes struggling to score on one end and several second-chance buckets by Grant on the other, White walked to the end of his bench and tapped sophomore Celeste Vitolas, just pulled up from JV for the playoffs. Vitolas went in and scored a layup with 4:56 left in the period that electrified the Oak Ridge bench.
The Trojans rode the energy on a 17-point run to silence any Grant comeback. The run was highlighted by Klein (17 points) who converted two three-pointers sandwiched around a layup off a Jenn Hoffman steal. After Grant scored a layup to end the run, Lauren Liebert and Nikki Dow each put through layups to give Oak Ridge a commanding 60-24 lead headed to the final quarter.
The Trojans continued to run circles around the Pacers and with the game well in hand at the four-minute mark, White put in all the new junior varsity reserves. Krisztina Zagyi scored six straight and the Trojans coasted to the 40-point victory.
“It was awesome to see how well the sophomores played because it’s a whole new level of intensity at varsity, and it’s great to know that Oak Ridge is in good hands for next year, but I don’t want this year to end just yet,” Klein said.
Jacki Bateman added 10 points for the Trojans.
Oak Ridge plays Thursday at Lincoln of Stockton, which beat Tokay in its playoff opener.
“There’s much more basketball to be played,” White said.