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January 9, 2013
Trojans prove ranking
For the second time this year, Oak Ridge beat Pleasant Grove 66-54 to cement itself as the second best team in the Sacramento area and the program to beat in the Delta River League. The Trojans were paced by 21 points from junior guard Ali Bettencourt.
Oak Ridge (12-2) grabbed the lead early and never gave it up. The Trojans led 29-27 at halftime before winning the third quarter 11-4 to take control over Pleasant Grove (10-4). Oak Ridge's two losses this year (Mater Dei and Pflugerville of Texas) are a combined 40-0. Pleasant Grove has lost two in a row and its two lowest offensive outputs of the year have come against the Trojans.
Bettencourt made five threes and Oak Ridge made eight as a team. Oak Ridge outscored Pleasant Grove beyond the arc 24-3. The Trojans were able to space the floor with multiple guards and found opener shooters, especially on the wings. They can put numerous ball handlers on the floor at different positions, which proved to be tough to defend by Pleasant Grove.
"We talk about it. The girls believe in themselves. We have the confidence for them to shoot the ball when they are open as long as the time and situation dictates it," Oak Ridge head coach Stephen White said."
Defensively, Oak Ridge utilized a full court press against the Eagles. The Trojans lack size, but this allows them to switch on defense and stopped Pleasant Grove from getting into any offensive rhythm. The Trojans will struggle against size and speed, but they held up well against Pleasant Grove.
"The girls know for us to be successful, we have to play with good energy. We're not the tallest team in the world," White said. "That's just the style we have to play because of our size. You saw when they were able to pass it inside, they killed us."
Haley Anderson, a 5-foot-8 forward, had 15 points and seven rebounds in Tuesday's win. She is a quality passer and possesses a good basketball IQ. She had two steals at mid-court in the press, which resulted in easy buckets, and was able to drive with her right hand. She only took one outside shot and made a three pointer. Headed to UC San Diego, she may make a case for the final class of 2013 rankings.
Arizona signee Dejza James scored a game high 26 points with seven rebounds, four assists and four blocks. She had good selection in working left hand drives and going over her right shoulder from either block. She is a good rim protector and a quality passer, especially from the post. James did commit five turnovers and needs to improve on playing at a high level consistently.
Finding the replacements for the graduated Marissa Wimbley is an ongoing process for Pleasant Grove after it struggled with the press and setting up the offense. The Eagles also lack depth with just five players scoring on Tuesday with James scoring nearly half of their points. They also didn't have an outside threat as sharp shooter Avonna Lee went 0-for-3.