After Thursday’s tough loss and Friday’s nail-biter, the host Oak Ridge boys basketball team put together a complete effort Saturday in knocking off Shasta 50-36 for the Trojan Toss-Up Tournament consolation championship.
“I thought overall we did a good job against a well-coached Shasta team. There were times where we made gambles that hurt us, but I’m pleased with the progress we’re making,” Troy coach Steve Scott said.
The Trojans jumped out ahead early, taking a 7-3 lead thanks to a Matt Battaglia three-pointer. Oak Ridge extended the lead as Josh Simms buried a corner three. Connor Sende, who led Oak Ridge with 12 points, added a trey of his own and a layup in the closing seconds of the quarter to propel Oak Ridge to a 16-15 lead at the end of the first period.
The Wolves opened the second quarter by scoring four straight points but Simms pulled Oak Ridge even with a deep three-pointer. Simms’ 3-point play and Bryan Bare’s runner let Oak Ridge take control to lead 30-21 at the half after a Brandon Williams steal turned into a 3-point play.
In the second half, Oak Ridge center Tyler Hatten made his presence felt. Hatten, a Folsom transfer who became eligible Jan. 1, put through two layups and a free throw and ended the quarter with an emphatic block as Oak Ridge led 40-30 at the end of three.
Hatten’s easy hoop on a Simms’ pass opened the fourth. Up eight with two minutes left, Grant Dean found Sende for a soaring dunk. Sende, an All-Tourney selection, scored again on a made layup plus foul as Oak Ridge cruised to victory.
The Trojans start their Delta River League schedule Wednesday at Pleasant Grove.
“The big thing about our league is the physicality. If we can hang tough on both ends of the court and play aggressively, we can compete, but if we’re passive and don’t play physically, it’s going to be a rough 10 games for us,” Scott said.
The Trojans not only survived missing their final seven free throws in overtime Friday but the Raiders’ two-missed foul shots with three-tenths of a second left.
Dean led Oak Ridge with 15 points, Simms added 11 and Bare scored 10.
Simms had 16 points, Battaglia, 10 and Sende and Hatten nine each in Thursday’s opening setback.