The Oak Ridge High School boys roundballers took to Conroe this past week to participate in the 49th Annual Conroe Christmas Classic and made a respectable showing by making it to the consolation championship game losing to the Morton Ranch Mavericks, 67-54.
The War Eagles (13-7) got out of the gate at a snails pace in allowing the Mavericks (10-7) to jump out to a 25 point lead in the first half. However, with a bit of persistence combined with some blue collar play, Oak Ridge was able to knock 18 points off of what appeared to be an insurmountable margin. It was too little, too late though as Morton Ranch clamped down and owned the boards in the final minutes of the contest.
Coach Joe Price was encouraged at his team’s absence of a quit mechanism in his post game interview with the Conroe Courier. “It’s tough to overcome 25 points. I told the team if we could get it to 10 with four minutes left, we might have a chance. But you’ve got to start so you can finish. In the first half, we weren’t getting back quickly enough on our transition defense.”
Morton Ranch’s Deon Manuel and Zach Motley 16 and 14 points resp. Oak Ridge’s Josh Myers and Josh Caldwell had 17 and 14 in order.
To reach the consolation championship game, Oak Ridge defeated Pasadena Memorial 68-62 earlier in the day.
In Friday’s action Oak Ridge split a twin bill and were sent to the losers bracket in the tournament opener by Dekaney, 79-63. Game two worked out better for Oak Ridge as they advanced to the consolation semifinal avenging an early season loss to Crosby with a 62-45 shellacking of the Cougars.
In the early game, Oak Ridge took a 22-17 lead over Dekaney after a quarter of play behind the hot shooting of Tanner Doyel and Josh Caldwell. However, the eventual victors came out of hibernation in the second quarter outscoring Oak Ridge by 18 points, taking a 48-35 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Dekaney’s Joseph Kilgore and Thomas Tolbert went off for 24 and 18 points in order.
Doyel led Oak Ridge scoring with 21 and Caldwell followed with 17. Josh Myers and Cameron Prejean each had nine and Adam Libby rounded out the War Eagle scoring leaders with four.
Oak Ridge came out loaded for bear against Crosby (7-9) as they took the lead early and were never behind. James Buck rattled off four straight points to put the War Eagles up, 14-6.
Myers sank a 3-ball and Caldwell hit two deuces in succession followed by a Doyel lay-up and Oak Ridge was up 25-15 in the second quarter. Trumaine Jefferson hit a 3 and Doyel intercepted the ensuing inbounds pass followed by his patented no look behind the back bounce pass to Jefferson and Oak Ridge was off to the races. A Doyel layup put Oak Ridge up, 38-24, at the half.
Myers finished with 18 points on ridiculous 6-7 three point shooting. James Buck had 11 and Caldwell 10. Floor General, Doyel directed traffic brilliantly for Oak Ridge as he finished with six points, eight assists and threw in four steals for good measure.
Oak Ridge coach Joe Price liked what he saw in Friday’s action. ”We’re 12-6 right now and it seems like we play with our competition,” Price said. “Now, that can be a good thing if you’re playing a good team but if you are playing a bad team, it’s not so good.
“Tanner Doyel’s leadership is good having played varsity for four years and making all district two years in a row. He can help us be consistent.”
“I told Josh Myers I would not take you out if you miss four in a row. Now, five and I’d take you out but not after four. I’ve never seen him miss four in a row though.
“We’ll see how district goes. It’s a tough district and we’ve got to win 7-8 games to make it. We just have to get on a roll.”
Comments to Doug Sarant at firstname.lastname@example.org.