Oak Ridge High’s varsity boys basketball team hosted Delta River League and intra-county rival Ponderosa Tuesday, topping the Bruins 56-47 in the league finale.
Fans treated the showdown as if it was a section semifinal, giving both squads an electric environment to compete in. The Trojans’ win secured a playoff spot.
“Playing against Oak Ridge has always been and will always be a unique type of game,” Bruin head coach Troy Selvey said.
As expected, the game was tight from the start. Ponderosa set a commanding defensive tone in the first half, leading 12-10 after the first quarter, while Trojans flipped the script with a 13-11 second quarter effort, meriting a 23-23 tie game at half and an ever-thickening plot.
“I know Ponderosa didn’t have the record they would like this season,” said Troy head coach Bobby Edwards, “but if you followed them this year, they were right there battling and playing hard against the best teams in this league.”
Ponderosa was first to blink, as Oak Ridge took advantage of turnovers and pushed forward to lead by as much as 10 points late in the third quarter. The Bruins cut the lead to five in the fourth, but couldn’t find enough defensive stops to overcome the hump.
Chris Snyder had a game-high 15 points for Ponderosa, while Marcus Forbes found time within his play-starting duties to contribute 12 points, and Josh Bist fought his way to eight points.
“My coaches and I were very pleased with the way we played defense,” Selvey said. “We’ve worked hard to be a strong defensive team and I’m proud of that.”
Troy’s offensive efforts saw multiple players hit double digits. Former Bruin Tyus Millhollin enjoyed a solid shooting performance, finishing with 13 while teammates Matt Battaglia and Jordan Roberts added 12 and 11, respectively. Michael Brenneman finished with 10 while the rest of Oak Ridge’s bench chimed in throughout the night, sealing an Oak Ridge victory.
Ponderosa finished its season 1-9 in league and 10-16 overall while Oak Ridge (4-6, 13-13) advances to the section’s Division I playoffs. The No. 10 seeded Trojans will play at No. 7 seed Golden Valley of Merced on Wednesday, Feb. 26.