Trojans can’t stop Saraba, Del Campo
An unstoppable scorer and an effort that came too late resulted in a 67-6-1 loss for the host Oak Ridge boys’ basketball team against Del Campo Friday night.
The Trojans were dominated by Del Campo’s Visilije Saraba, the Cougars’ lanky sharpshooter who bucketed 34 points, well above his normal 17.7 average per game.
The home squad got its act together in the final quarter, stringing together points with spurts of good defense to make it a game. The quintessential moment came when Troy missed an easy layup to negate a steal and an opportunity to pull within five.
The epitome of the game played out — missed Trojan shots versus Saraba — as the Cougars took what should have been a sure-fire basket on one end to the other as Saraba sank a pair of free throws to push the margin to nine.
“We had that one chance to get within five with three minutes to go; we had the opportunity, but the kids were just tired,” said Oak Ridge head coach Steve Scott. “It was great effort and a good attempt at coming back.”
In the opening quarter of play, Del Campo demonstrated stout defense, especially under the basket. Saraba began to get in an early rhythm, putting the Cougars ahead 19-12 by quarter’s end.
Bryan Bare, Oak Ridge’s eventual top performer of the night, helped the Trojans to what looked to be a promising start to the second period with a block off the backboard followed by a 3-point-play at the other end. After a pair of Trojan free throws, Bare managed a steal but the possession was voided by a turnover and Del Campo drilled a three to go up seven.
From there, Oak Ridge got sloppy, falling behind 36-21 due to Saraba’s scoring. When he wasn’t scoring, Saraba dished to Modesta Britten for points. That pair combined for a stunning 34 of Del Campo’s 38 first-half points as the Cougars led by 14.
In the third quarter Oak Ridge’s play was more inspired. The newfound energy combined with Del Campo resting Saraba for most of the quarter could have been a formula for a comeback had the Trojans hit their shots.
The Cougars continued their full-court press into the fourth, forcing two backcourt time-violations. Despite those setbacks, the Trojans still opened the final stanza on a 7-0 run. Oak Ridge nailed some late baskets in dire straits to come within four with less than 20 seconds left but it wasn’t enough and Del Campo closed out the win.
“For three quarters of the game Del Camp simply outplayed us,” said Scott. “They played harder; they made shots. We just got outplayed.”
Bare, was Oak Ridge’s bright spot on the night with 18 points, while his constant defense hustle paid off in four steals.
“I’m really proud of Bryan. He played a great game,” said Scott.
Oak Ridge’s record now stands at 6-5 on the season.