Oak Ridge riding momentum
By Glenn Sattell
If the Oak Ridge boys basketball team manages to win the District 14-5A title, it could point to the Conroe Christmas Classic as the catalyst.
For the first time, the War Eagles won that tournament creating a huge boost of momentum heading into district play.
I think we've gotten every place now at the Conroe Tournament," War Eagle coach Rob Stewart said. We had gotten 2-through-16. Now we got first. So I'm pretty stoked. And getting two wins against teams like Cy-Woods and Dekaney, I'm impressed with our kids."
But Stewart said that winning the Conroe Tournament couldn't be the high point of the season.
We still have the district (schedule) to play," he said. But we're feeling pretty good and we just enjoyed (winning the tournament) and then we got back to work."
The War Eagles have set a precedent for tournament play.
The last three years, we've trophied in every tournament we've been to," Stewart said. But we hadn't won the Conroe Tournament. So it was kind of like that albatross. Now it's gone. So we're pretty happy about that."
Sean Kovar scored 15 points, while both Alonzo Jefferson and Scott Bastian finished with 12 points in the War Eagles' 65-61 victory over Dekaney in the tournament finals. It was Oak Ridge's 15th victory in 19 games.
Jefferson also scored nine points in a 47-44 semifinals victory over Cy-Woods.
I loved winning it," Stewart said. There's 12-to-14 teams in this tournament that are going to be playoff teams. To be able to get in there and compete and actually be first in that tournament, I'm ecstatic."
Stewart said that defense has been the key to success this season for an Oak Ridge team that won 18 of its first 24 games, including a split of its first two in district play.
Our defense is tremendous right now," Stewart said. We've got to make sure not to ebb and flow as much as we have been. If we can keep that defense consistent like that, we're going to be a rolling ball of butcher knives."
But there isn't just one leader on the team because different players have stepped up in different games.
Terrell Lawrence scored 17 points in a 61-39 victory over Conroe in the district opener. DeMarcus Fitch and Halen Butler have come up big as well in the scoring column.
It's hard to say because I looked at our scorebook the other day and we didn't have anybody in double figures, but we had seven guys that had eight points or better," Stewart said. It's a group. The thing is we've got a bunch of guys. And we're as deep as Oak Ridge has ever been. That's a fact. We can go 13 deep and we're still good. That makes it pretty easy to be the coach.
Logan Griffin was hurt in the (Conroe tournament championship game) and he didn't score a point. He's our best player. And he didn't score a point for us and we beat Dekaney. That says something right there."
With district play underway, Stewart said the schedule will only get tougher.
Really anybody can beat anybody every night," he said. I'd say that Lufkin, College Park, and The Woodlands will be our biggest tests. (Conroe coach) Jason (VanRobays) is going to have them ready every time. And then New Caney is shooting 3s like there's no tomorrow. They're shooting like 30 3s a game. So if they get hot they can beat anybody, too."
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