What they’re saying …
“It’s been a rollercoaster season … the beginning more downhill but our playing started getting better, we worked as a team and started going uphill.” — Maria Dutton
“Our mindset was that we came in confident knowing it’s hard to beat a team three times in a row.” — Marie Olson
“McClatchy’s pressure at the start felt a little overwhelming but we started reversing the ball and got some easy buckets.” — Lexi Perry
“McClatchy’s defense was aggressive and intense … but ours was too.” — Steve White
SANTA CLARA — Eight good minutes of play … and McClatchy … stood between Oak Ridge and its second-ever trip to the Division I state finals. Needing to win the fourth quarter after a comeback in the third, the Lady Trojans couldn’t stop a strong Lions’ finish and dropped the NorCal finale 46-34 at Santa Clara University Saturday.
After outscoring McClatchy 15-10 to pull within 29-28, action headed to the fourth where the Lions outscored Oak Ridge 17-6. Cameron Kirtlan’s early layup kept it a 1-point game but 7-0 and 6-0 bursts from McClatchy decided the outcome.
“I’m proud of how we battled back and took the lead but unfortunately we couldn’t get over the top,” Trojan coach Steve White said. “Not many teams are left at this point so to get this far is a credit to the girls.”
The third quarter was Oak Ridge’s shining moment after a miserable first half, salvaged by two Maria Dutton jumpers that sent Troy to the locker room down just 19-13. Neither team shot above 25 percent while Oak Ridge, facing a relentless Lion press, committed 14 turnovers.
Kassidy De Lapp’s layup opened the second half followed by a Lexi Perry over-the-top halfcourt inbound for Brianne Gross’ touch-pass to Shayley Harris. Perry’s wing three-pointer gave the Trojans their first lead at 20-19 with 6:16 left in the quarter.
Breaking a McClatchy timeout, Dutton stuck a wing jumper and Marie Olson found De Lapp on a high-low as Oak Ridge went up 24-19. Two more buckets from Harris kept the lead before Kamryn Hall buried a three to put the Lions up 1 after three.
‘The girls figured it out a bit, hit a few shots, played hard and aggressive and we had them on their heels,” White said of the third quarter. “I’m proud of how we battled back and took the lead.”
The Trojans ended up out-shooting McClatchy 35-to-25 percent but the Lions won the turnover battle, losing possession just 10 times compared to 28 by Oak Ridge. McClatchy took 20 more shots and scored 19 of its points off Troy miscues.
“That’s kind of the way the season has gone. (Despite the turnovers) we’ve been as good as we can to get as far as we’ve come,” White said.
Compounding the Trojans’ problems Saturday, Olson, who led Oak Ridge in scoring against the Lions in the section semifinals and had 17 points against Folsom earlier in the week, never got going and was held scoreless on 0-for-5 from the field. In the second half, Troy shot 50 percent from the field to McClatchy’s 25.8 percent. Perry had both of Oak Ridge’s three-pointers.
De Lapp, selected for the Character and Sportsman award, scored 10 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Harris added 8 points and 9 boards; Sutton and Perry had 6 points each; and Kirtlan and Skye Lamy each scored 2. The Lions were led by Richelle Turney and Courtesy Clark (12 rebounds) who scored 12 points each.
The Trojans finish 23-11, the season ending with seniors Lamy, Kirtlan, Dutton, Perry and Alysson Closson on the floor.