BERKELEY — Rachel Howard scored 14 points and Berkeley’s scoring all came from its starters to turn back visiting Oak Ridge 49-38 last Tuesday in a CIF NorCal semifinal girls basketball playoff game.
The Trojans sent the host Yellowjackets to the foul line 20 times in the fourth quarter in an attempt to extend the season. Oak Ridge finishes with an overall record of 25-9. Last year Berkeley also ended Troy’s season in the NorCal quarterfinals to avenge a loss to Oak Ridge in the 2010 NorCal finals.
Unfortunately, injuries derailed the Trojans Tuesday. Guard Jenna Hoffman, one of the team’s leading scorers in the postseason, went down with an injury two minutes in and couldn’t continue. Her destination following the game was to seek medical treatment. Oak Ridge also didn’t have the services of forward Michelle Barkley who was hurt Saturday against Heritage and couldn’t go against Berkeley.
“That really messed with our rotation but the girls did a good job battling and it was a real gutsy performance by the group as the girls rallied, followed the game plan and I’m really proud of them,” Troy coach Steve White said.
The plan was to slow Berkeley down. The Yellowjackets led just 17-16 at the halftime break. The hosts scored the first six points of the third to lead 31-24 going to the fourth quarter.
Tuesday’s game was physical and tense. Berkeley extended to a 10-point advantage in the fourth but fouled Oak Ridge on a three-pointer. The Trojans missed three straight free throws but got them back when Jacki Bateman hit a three. The Yellowjackets held off Oak Ridge to advance to Saturday’s NorCal final at Power Balance Pavilion against Kennedy.
Jenna Klein led Troy with nine points, Jacki Bateman scored eight, Lauren Sende seven before fouling out with three minutes left, Katie Hoisington, six, Haley Anderson had four and Krisztina Zagy and Alyssa Ramona each had two points.
It was a year of would-of, could-of, should-of,” White said. “We came on at the right time with everyone playing well and our rebounding toward the end was instrumental to our success. Considering we ended the season with four of our top eight in the rotation out with injury, getting to this level was a testament to everyone’s work ethic and hard work.
“I’m really proud of this team. We really came together and other than the coaching staff and players not many people thought we’d get this far. Tonight we left everything on the floor and have not regrets. Berkeley knew they were in a game — we just came up a little short.”