José Luis Villegas /

Ali Bettencourt and her fellow Oak Ridge seniors have had a state championship as a goal since they were seventh-graders.

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Prep girls basketball notes: Oak Ridge has constant reminder of its goal

Published: Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 - 9:03 pm
Last Modified: Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 - 11:18 pm

Oak Ridge High School recently completed a year-long makeover of its gymnasium, which opened in the early 1980s. Among the new features, besides the fresh coat of paint that still leaves the walls bare, are bleachers behind the north basket and a hardwood floor.

Laminated into the floor are commemorative logos from the Trojans’ Division II boys state championship team in 2005placed in front of the visiting team’s bench, and the Division I girls state championship team in 2010, located in front of the home bench.

The latter logo serves as inspiration for the current girls team.

“We are trying to get everyone to stay focused and understand how much hard work it takes to get (a state championship), and we will continue to preach that,” said Steve White, the team’s coach and school athletic director.

Winning a state championship has been the top goal for Oak Ridge’s seniors for the past six years.

“That state championship has been a team goal since we were in seventh grade,” Oak Ridge senior Ali Bettencourt said. “The motivation is that this is our last year. We have everyone on board.”

Bettencourt, headed to San Jose State on scholarship, has been the leader for the No. 4 Trojans this season. Along with backcourt mate Jenn Hoffman, Oak Ridge (20-4) has lost just once to a Sac-Joaquin Section team – No. 3 Nevada Union on Jan. 18 after beating the Miners in December.

Oak Ridge has a 19-game Delta River League win streak dating to the 2011-12 season entering tonight’s home game against No. 9 St. Francis. On Saturday, the Trojans went on a 30-1 first-half run against No. 7 Del Oro en route to a 49-24 nonleague victory that Bettencourt said was a starting block for another playoff run.

“(The Del Oro) game was really a test for us,” Bettencourt said. “Going into it, we had to respect them, and it let us know what to expect in the playoffs. It was a good run to get us going.”

Oak Ridge has several key players back from the team that advanced to the Division I section semifinals and Northern California Regional final last season, including starters Michelle Barkley, Grace Derksen, Shelby Peters and Jessica Maglietta.

“We have the pieces to go far. We just have to put them all together, and everything has to be clicking,” White said. “I tell every one of my teams that you have to have luck in the playoffs, and it’s got to be the good kind.”

This season’s D-I section bracket, which begins Feb. 21, will be a challenge with top-ranked McClatchy (22-1), Napa (22-1) and longtime state power St. Mary’s of Stockton in the field. St. Mary’s (19-4) has won six consecutive section titles – D-III (2008-10), D-II (2011-12) and D-I last season.


Records through Saturday

1. McClatchy22-11
2. Sacramento16-72
3. Nevada Union19-43
4. Oak Ridge20-44
5. River City21-45
6. Christian Brothers14-98
7. Del Oro18-76
8. Pleasant Grove 16-87
9. St. Francis15-811
10. Bear River 20-212
11. Monterey Trail 15-915
12. Kennedy 11-1013
13. Florin14-99
14. Bradshaw Christian 12-614
15. West Campus 14-618
16. Capital Christian 19-410
17. Sheldon13-1117
18. Granite Bay 16-916
19. Cosumnes Oaks18-719
20. Inderkum 14-10

– Trevor Horn

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