EL DORADO HILLS – If it works, run with it. That is exactly the strategy that the Oak Ridge girls basketball team employed in round two of the Trojan Shoot-Out on Friday evening.
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The Trojans rolled over the Turlock Bulldogs of 76-37 in very similar fashion to how they played against Nevada Union Thursday, especially when comparing the first halves of both games.
Oak Ridge came out in its patented press, but a bigger Turlock team was more prepared than Nevada Union and was able to break through the Oak Ridge pressure easier. But the Trojans were staunch in their front court defense and continued to stifle the Bulldogs’ shooting opportunities.
Oak Ridge led 11-1 after just four minutes of play and the unhappy Turlock coach called timeout to stop the bleeding and try to change her team’s performance with some very vocal advice.
Dakota McLarnan had another great first half for the Trojans and her first three pointer with just seconds remaining in the first quarter put the Trojans up 21-7.
McLarnan exploded in the early stages of the second quarter, nailing back-to-back treys to move the lead to 19. Carly Bettencourt pilfered the ensuing inbound pass and completed a layup, which was followed by another McLarnan swish from deep. Seconds later, Jenna Klein knocked down a three-pointer and with three minutes left in the first half, Oak Ridge was ahead by 27.
Sensing that they could be behind by 30 before halftime, the Bulldogs hit a three, followed by a tough under-the-hoop score to cut the deficit down to 23. At halftime the home team led 44-18.
Just like in round one, Oak Ridge led by a considerable margin at the midway point and McLarnan had 18 points for the second straight game. The Trojans drained seven threes in the first half alone.
“We had the same strategy. We always come out and do what we do,” Trojan head coach Steve White said. “But tonight we kept up the intensity in the second half and just did a better job top to bottom.”
The second half is where the game began to differ from Thursday night’s contest when Oak Ridge allowed Nevada Union to play relatively even in the second half. Against Turlock, the Trojans maintained their momentum and didn’t let the Bulldogs back in the game.
The girls in blue and gold opened the third quarter on a tear, going on a 13-2 scoring run in the first three and half minutes, with most of the buckets coming in the transition game.
White went to the bench with three minutes left in the third quarter and the Trojans’ hot streak subsided. After scoring 16 points in the first five minutes compared to five for Turlock, White put in a whole new platoon and the period closed with both teams adding five points to the scoreboard.
“They aren’t used to all five of them being out there at the same time,” White said. “But they came in and settled down after having to sit all of the first half and part of the third and they finished the third well.”
The Trojans coasted in the fourth and with four minutes left in the game they led, 74-35. For the next four minutes each team only put up one more bucket and the game ended with Oak Ridge on top, 76-37.
Even without a single bucket in the second half, McLarnan’s total point tally ended at 18. Hayley Anderson finished with 16 and Klein added 11.
Oak Ridge will play for the championship Saturday at 4 p.m.