SHINGLE SPRINGS — Oak Ridge’s 16-1 run to open the second half, led by nine consecutive points from Ali Bettencourt, decided Tuesday’s intra-county matchup with host Ponderosa.
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The burst opened a big lead and carried the Lady Trojans to the 76-40 victory.
The win closed the Delta River League schedule, giving Troy a perfect 10-0 record for the second straight year. It also ended the long basketball tenure both teams shared as adversaries in the same league. Next year, realignment separates the two.
“Ponderosa has alway been our rival so that’s going to be tough to let go but I’m sure we’ll find new rivals in our new league,” said Oak Ridge guard Briana Dulgar, part of a Trojan bench that contributed 35 points to the scoreboard. “The first half was sloppy and not Oak Ridge basketball but we got our butts kicked into shape at halftime and after that killed it.”
The Trojans trailed 16-13 after the first quarter as Ponderosa’s Alex Boyle, Madison Clayton and Danielle Craft relentlessly attacked the basket. Though Michelle Barkley hit several nice side jumpers, she was also whistled for two fouls and took an early seat on the bench.
“You have to credit Ponderosa which came to compete and ready to play. It was a real wake-up call for us at halftime,” Oak Ridge coach Steve White said. “Our effort in the first half was a bit lackadaisical.”
Jenn Hoffman’s two three-pointers, part of an eight-point effort, pushed the Trojans to a 31-23 advantage as the teams went to the break. Hoffman (four treys) led Oak Ridge with 14 points while Bettencourt added 10 as did Celeste Vitolas, all in the fourth quarter.
Bettencourt’s side pop, layin, wing three and second layin shot her team in front 40-23. After a Boyle free throw, Hoffman hit a three, Grace Derksen two free throws and Isamar Conde scored in transition before Mackenzie O’Donnell’s inbound pass found Boyle underneath.
As Oak Ridge pulled away, O’Donnell tried to stem the tide with a baseline drive and three-pointer at the horn, but the visitors still led by 22.
Despite being outscored 27-9 in the fourth and the 36-point setback, Ponderosa coach Noel O’Donnell found positives.
“We won the first quarter and didn’t give up any second-chance points in the first half,” O’Donnell said. “You’d like to thing hard work can top talent but against a team like Oak Ridge that’s not the case.
“We struggled at points this season and injuries effected us more than we realized. But we stayed together as a team. I’m looking forward to our new league. The rivalry with Oak Ridge has been a friendly one but one we’ve had the short stick. The experience we’ve gained from playing them and other tough teams is one we’ll carry forward.”
Craft led Oak Ridge with 16 points while Boyle had 11. Mackenzie added five, Clayton four and Danielle Becker and Taylor Yancey both scored two points.
Rounding out Trojan scoring, Saraya Smith scored seven points, Derksen, Barkley and Conde each had six, Shelby Peters had five, Yumi Drossos and Dulgar, four apiece, and Lauren Gaddis and Laura Soper two each.