SACRAMENTO — Haley Anderson and the rest of the Oak Ridge High girls basketball team felt upbeat Tuesday night and with good reason.
Anderson scored the go-ahead basket toward the end of third quarter. On top of that, the senior scored 10 of her game high 20 points in the fourth quarter to help Oak Ridge post a 50-38 win over St. Francis.
The victory gives the Trojans (8-0, 21-3) their first Division I league title since joining the Delta River League in 2010. The league crown is also the program’s 10th under head coach Steve White who’s in his 18th season.
Trojan guards Ali Bettencourt (12 points) and Yumi Drossos hit a trey each to erase the Troubadours’ six-point halftime as the game stood tied 27-all in the third quarter. Off a turnover, Anderson sank a shot inside the paint with 2:19 left in the quarter to start a 5-0 run as Oak Ridge took a 34-27 lead to the fourth.
Rebounding also played a major role in the Trojans’ rally; they had 13 rebounds in the second half. Troy’s mixture of zone defenses and full-court press created nightmares for St. Francis, which scored only four points in the third quarter.
“It was all about the defensive rebounding,” Anderson said. “We didn’t do too well in the first half, but we came out in the second half and we didn’t want to lose here.”
St. Francis cut Oak Ridge’s lead by four, 38-34, with 4:16 left but Trojan forward Michelle Barkley (seven points) made 1-of-2 free throws to cushion the lead and Oak Ridge ended the game with an 11-4 run that included Anderson making 5-of-6 of her free throws.
“We wanted to be more of the aggressors,” Anderson said. “We really focus on free throws in practice. It’s really fun when things get chippy and are going your way.”
White added, “You can just see it in her eyes that Haley wants the ball. You can tell her basketball IQ is really high.”
Oak Ridge held an 11-9 advantage after the first quarter, but its offense was met by St. Francis’ smothering defense that forced four turnovers. The Troubadours outscored the Trojans, 14-6, for their 23-17 halftime lead.
Trojans guard Grace Derksen finished with five points, Drossos three, forward Shelby Peters two and guard Lauren Liebert one.
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.