A fast start on offense and perimeter defense gave the Oak Ridge High girls basketball team a jump-start toward its 59-36 win over Cardinal Newman to grab the 20th annual Trojan Toss-Up title inside the Lady Trojans’ renovated gym last Monday.
Trojan guard Ali Bettencourt, named tournament MVP, scored five of her game-high 18 points within the first two minutes of tipoff for a 5-0 lead. Oak Ridge (8-1) built its advantage to 10-2 with Bettencourt’s two, three-pointers factored in.
“I was on tonight,” said Bettencourt of her fast start. “You just get one of those nights, and tonight was one of them.”
Oak Ridge pressured Cardinal Newman (5-3) at the perimeter and baseline where the Lady Cardinals had been successful in scoring throughout the Trojan Toss-Up.
“We pressured their guards, and made it tough (for the Cardinals) to lob passes,” Oak Ridge head coach Steve White said.
Bettencourt added, “We tried to make sure that we contained people, and that we didn’t give up anything easy. We had to know where their key players were.”
The Trojans led 14-7 after the opening quarter. In the second, Oak Ridge went on a 5-0 run for a 19-7 lead that included another Bettencourt trey and one from guard Jenn Hoffman (14 points) — one of two Oak Ridge players named to the all-tourney team.
Oak Ridge led 34-24 at halftime despite getting outrebounded 20-6 by Cardinal Newman whose Lady Cardinals had second and third chance shots on offense.
“We talked about that at halftime,” White said. “We won the first quarter, but they won the second quarter, and the score showed that.”
But Oak Ridge was just as aggressive on defense in the third quarter as it was in the first, holding Cardinal Newman to just four points to establish a 48-28 lead. The Trojans grabbed seven rebounds in the quarter.
“We’re trying to get 32 minutes of complete boxing-out,” White said. “We have a lot of work to get done.”
The Lady Trojans executed their offense behind the perimeter and inside the paint for all-around scoring in the third. In the final quarter, Oak Ridge led by as much as 57-32, as White substituted freely toward the end of the third and the entire fourth quarters.
Trojan guard Grace Derksen was also named to the all-tourney team. She pulled down six of the Trojans’ 21 rebounds in the game, and pressured Cardinal guards into turnovers. Cardinal Newman had 13 in the game, nine coming in the first half.
Oak Ridge’s Isamar Conde had seven points while Celeste Vitolas and guard Lauren Gaddis had four points each. Derksen and guards Briana Dulgar and Drossos Yumi had two points each. The Trojans were 9-of-14 from the free throw line.