SHINGLE SPRINGS — Ali Bettencourt’s signed autograph for a youngster after her playoff opener Tuesday has doubled in value.
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Thursday the Oak Ridge senior maintained her hot hand, burying 19 of her game-high 21 points in the first half, as the Trojans cruised past Enochs 64-33 in the second-round of CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I girls basketball action.
Bettencourt drained her first four shots, including back-to-back three-pointers, as Troy seized a 20-7 first-quarter advantage. She scored 12 in the period and another seven in the second as Oak Ridge led by 20 at halftime.
“Getting my shot down and finding a good rhythm before the game and then once the game starts taking care of business and helping the team,” Bettencourt said of her postseason formula for success. “It’s the playoffs and it’s time to bring it, step up and get stuff done.”
The victory pushed the Trojans into tomorrow’s semifinals matchup at UOP against Pleasant Grove, a team Troy has defeated twice. Trojan coach Steve White is leery about the third meeting.
“Any time you play a good team three times (and win the first two) they have the advantage. They’ll apply what they think can beat you and we’ll be adjusting on the fly,” White said.
Thursday against Enochs, Briana Dulgar’s assist on Jenn Hoffman’s corner three had Oak Ridge up 17-3 early in the game. Hoffman, along with fellow starters Bettencourt, Grace Derksen, Shelby Peters and Isamar Conde were a disruptive defensive force as all five had steals to thwart Enochs.
“We’ve been working hard on defense at practice: communicating, spreading the floor and playing the passing lanes,” Hoffman said. “We knew we didn’t want to go home and came out fired up.”
Taking no chances, the Trojans blitzed Enochs with a quick 6-0 run to open the third as Hoffman went high off the glass, Bettencourt dished to Peters and Derksen found Peters in the lane.
“We talked at halftime how Enochs knew its season was on the brink and they’d bring everything they had and we’d have to answer,” White said.
Oak Ridge did it again to open the fourth. Dulgar picked up two steals for consecutive layins, Lauren Gaddis found Celeste Vitolas inside and Vitolas scored again before Enochs scored halfway through the quarter.
Skye Lamy, moved up from the JV, hit a three and long two in the fourth to help Troy close out the game.
The Trojans quick start gave Michelle Barkley’s ankle issue more rest time. She sat while Vitolas’ minutes increased and she responded with nine points and 11 rebounds.
“Coach (White) challenged me to be more aggressive, play hard and rebound,” Vitolas said. “Pleasant Grove is competitive and we can’t underestimate them because we all want to end up at Arco (Sleep Train Arena).”
Hoffman and Dulgar each added seven points. Derksen and Lamy had five, Peters scored four, and Saraya Smith, Lauren Gaddis and Laura Soper had two apiece.