Top-seeded Oak Ridge routs Lady Miners in first round |

Top-seeded Oak Ridge routs Lady Miners in first round

Sara James and her Oak Ridge teammates wasted little time in showing why they own the No. 1 seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs Thursday, running away from 16th seed Nevada Union for a 77-27 first-round victory.

James, a Stanford University recruit averaging 34 points per game, scored 15 points in the first quarter to lead the Trojans to a 27-12 lead after one stop and then added 10 more points through 2 1/2 quarters of play before calling it a night with a game-high 25.

“I don’t want to say this,” Nevada Union coach John McDaniel said, “but that was a clinic.

“They’re the best team I’ve seen in three years and Sara James is the best high school player I’ve seen in person in that time.”

Oak Ridge (26-2) offered an early example of its offensive firepower two minutes into the contest, turning a 5-5 game into a 12-5 edge when James drained a 3-pointer, put back an offensive board and scored off her own steal. Caitlin Welsch added a bucket on the baseline to cap the 9-0 run for a 14-5 margin with 3:53 still on the first-quarter clock.

The Trojans’ second spurt of the night, a 22-2 run over the first five minutes of the second stanza, all but put the contest out of reach at 49-14 by the 2:52 mark of the second quarter.

As impressive as Oak Ridge’s offense performed, its defensive pressure also produced results in helping to force 28 Nevada Union turnovers.

Earlier this season, McDaniel declared Sierra Foothill League rival Del Oro (25-4) as the best team he’d seen in his three-year tenure on the Lady Miner bench. But after watching Oak Ridge go to work, he’s not so sure the SFL champion and Division III Golden Eagles could stay with Division I’s top-seeded Trojans.

“I wouldn’t like to see that matchup for Del Oro,” McDaniel said. “I don’t think it would turn out well for them. (Oak Ridge) is the best team in the area. I’ve not seen St. Mary’s (Stockton), but this is the best team I’ve seen.”

In addition to James, the Trojans also got a 12-point night out of junior Carly Bettencourt. Nineteen Oak Ridge players took the floor, with 12 finding the scoring column.

For Nevada Union, which finished out at 13-14 on the season, senior Angela Hacche led in scoring with nine points. Junior Jennie Carroll scored six, while seniors Jordan Milhous and Ashley Simpton added five and four points, respectively.

“We’ve got six seniors and it’s a very good group of girls,” McDaniel said. “Every year, I seem to get an amazing group. All 13 of them. There were no problems. These girls loved each other and played well together. I can’t say enough about all the teams I’ve had and this one’s no exception.”

Oak Ridge advances to second round action Saturday at Galt High School, where the Trojans will tip off against ninth-seed Sheldon, which beat No. 8 Turlock 50.

Contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton via e-mail at or by phone at 477-4240.

Oak Ridge 77, Nevada Union 27

NU (13-14) 12 6 6 3 – 27

OR (26-2) 27 24 17 9 – 77

Nevada Union (27)

Lindsey DeMatteis 0 2-2 2, Audrianna Colomb 0 0-1 0, Jennie Carroll 3 0-2 6, Angela Hacche 3 1-4 9, Jordan Milhous 2 1-2 5, Francesca Benevento 0 0-0 0, Ashley Simpton 1 1-2 4, Taryn Salcedo 0 0-0 0, Taylor Wolfe 0 0-0 0, Emma Arata 0 0-0 0, Alyssa Rodriguez 0 0-0 0, Natalie Benthin 0 0-0 0. Totals 9 5-13 27.

Oak Ridge (77)

Carly Bettencourt 4 2-2 12, Natalie Stone 1 0-0 2, Sara James 11 1-1 25, Caitlin Welsch 3 0-0 6, Megan Griswold 3 0-0 6, Dakota McLarnan 2 0-0 5, Kelsi Danciart 0 1-2 1, Stefanie Walberg 2 0-0 4, Kristen Ramona 2 0-0 5, Hayley Anderson 1 2-2 4, Jodie Richards 0 0-0 0, Jenna Klein 2 0-0 4, Lauren Adams 0 0-0 0, Kristie Kaiser 0 0-0 0, Lauren Sende 0 0-0 0, Lindsay Honaker 0 0-0 0, Hayley Padua-Dean 0 0-0 0, Katie Hosington 0 0-0 0. Totals 32 6-7 77.

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