Oak Ridge pounds Elk Grove in Toss-Up opener

Oak Ridge’s #13, DJ Leszczynski goes airborn for two points Tuesday night in a game against Elk Grove. Mother Lode News photo by Pat Dollins

OAK RIDGE'S DJ Leszczynski goes airborn for two points Tuesday night in a game against Elk Grove. Mother Lode News photo by Pat Dollins

Tyler Simms sank five three-pointers on his way to a game-high 22 points Tuesday and Bryce Scott added 16 to pace host Oak Ridge High past Elk Grove 64-35 to open the Toss Up Tournament.

The victory advanced the third-ranked Trojans, playing their first official home game, to tonight’s 8 p.m. matchup with McClatchy. With the win, Troy improved to 12-0.

In-your-face defense by Oak Ridge set the tone as the Thundering Herd had few open looks at the basket. Vying for their fourth tournament title of the preseason, the Trojans started fast as Will Findlay bucketed five early points, Scott drained a long three and a runner off the glass and Simms joined the act with a 3-point play and long-range triple.

“Our whole focus is on getting ready for the Delta River League and at times we don’t even look at the scoreboard,” Oak Ridge coach Bob Christensen said. “We have to hang our hat on defense. We shot the ball well tonight but on nights we don’t, we know we can still win it with defense,”

Simms had 10 points in the opening quarter and Scott seven as the Trojans led by 14 going to the second. The senior swing-man added another two treys before halftime and the big advantage enabled Christensen to freely utilize his bench.

“Bryce (Scott) and DJ (Leszczynski kept feeding me and we packed it inside which opened up the outside,” Simms said. “Overall it was a good win, everyone played a lot and contributed. Hopefully this doesn’t stop — we’d like to go into our league opener against Jesuit undefeated.”

Oak Ridge led 44-20 at halftime and pulled its foot off the accelerator during the final two quarters, scoring just 20 the rest of the way. John Cunningham’s energetic play earned him four, third-quarter free throws and Simms, before retiring for the evening, capped off his night with a 3-point play and three-pointer. JT Tulabut, Matt Howard, Sean O’Donnell, Morgan Elmachtoub, Steven Hofman and Roman Andrus all saw extended minutes in the second half.

A block by Scott Sanchez slowed Elk Grove in the fourth after the Herd had opened with five quick points. Sanchez then found Scott inside and Scott’s look-off dish returned the favor as Sanchez scored his only bucket. Findlay blocked several shots while Simms, Howard and Elmachtoub also had rejections.

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