Oak Ridge rallies past The Woodlands, into playoffs
THE WOODLANDS, Texas – Tanner Doyel and the Oak Ridge High School boys’ basketball team traveled to The Woodlands (23-9, 9-3) with designs on earning a 14-5A playoff spot outright and thus avoiding a multi -team play-in scenario with a loss. Earn it they did as Oak Ridge maintained their composure in hostile territory with a thrilling 60-58 upset of the Highlanders.
Down 49-44 early in the fourth quarter, Doyel took matters into his own hands in scoring the next 13 Oak Ridge (19-12, 6-6) points helping his team to a 57-53 lead they would never relinquish.
Early on in the contest, The Woodlands' Cody Mason put his team up 14-6 after draining an NBA 3-ball. Not to be outdone, The Oak Ridge tandem of Trumaine Jefferson and Josh Myers teamed up for the next 11 War Eagle points, and after Cameron Burkett sank a long ball for The Woodlands, the first quarter ended with the score all knotted up at 17.
Oak Ridge stayed hot early in the second stanza and after a Caldwell to Jefferson fast break ended with a slam dunk, the Oak Ridge crowd went wild as the War Eagles took a 29-25 lead.
The celebration was short-lived as The Woodlands would score the last 12 points of the half on the strength of eight points from Shane Moran and the Highlanders took a 37-29 lead into the locker room.
Late in the third quarter, Zach Manning put The Woodlands up 47-35 but Jefferson then rattled off seven straight points to draw Oak Ridge to within five, 47-42, to end the third quarter.
The Tanner Doyel Show was about to begin.
Doyel was as calm as could be at the post-game interview.
"We tried to spread the ball out and keep them away from the basket to open things up,” Doyel said. “I started thinking how this could be my last high school basketball game ever and someone had to step up so it just happened to be me tonight."
War Eagles coach Joe Price on Doyel; "Tanner shot up an air ball so he felt he had to redeem himself and he certainly did that. Jefferson made a lot of plays and with his aggressive play he kept us in the game."
Mason and Moran led The Woodlands scoring with 16 and 14 in order.
For Oak Ridge, Jefferson gathered 24 as Doyel sizzled home with 20.
The Woodlands will take on Dekaney at 7 p.m. Monday at College Park High School in a bi-district playoff game.
Oak Ridge meets up with Westfield while District 14-5A champions College Park (30-5, 12-0) takes a 23-game win streak into its bi-district playoff game with Kingwood. Times and sites for those two games are to be determined.