This past Friday, a pair of Central Florida powers squared off as Oak Ridge went across town to face Orlando Olympia. Both teams were coming off victories in the Metro Conference tournaments as Oak Ridge won the East tournament and Olympia took home the West title. In a sense, the de facto Metro Conference Tournament Championship was on the line.
The Pioneers of Oak Ridge jumped to a quick 5-0 lead behind 6’6 junior Jamier Jones as he connected on a drive and then a shot behind the arc. Olympia got on the board with a bucket at the basket from 6’4 senior Kaiden White. Oak Ridge then went on an 8-0 run highlighted by a pair of dunks, one from 6’5 senior and Virginia Tech signee Tyler Johnson and one from 6’5 senior and Georgia Southern signee Jordan Tillery. Olympia now faced a 13-2 hole. Sean Owens, a 6’2 senior, got the Titans back on the board with a putback. This began a 14-2 run for Olympia with all but those Owens points coming from White, 6’6 senior Kameren Wright, and 6’5 senior Vophcy Prophete. Very quickly, a 13-2 Olympia deficit was a 16-15 Olympia lead. Oak Ridge responded with a 6-0 run and now lead 21-16. Each team would score five more points in the quarter and after one period of play, Oak Ridge led 26-21.
The second quarter mirrored the first. Oak Ridge started the period with a 10-2 run highlighted by a pair of three-pointers from 6’0 junior Jalen Reese, giving the Pioneers a 36-23 lead. Once again, Olympia responded with a run of its own to close the gap. This one was an 8-0 spurt highlighted by a three from Wright and one from 6’8 senior Lucca Reinehr. The Titans were now back to within five, 36-31. Oak Ridge’s 6’6 senior Cam Simpson hit a three but a putback and a three for the Titans got them to within 39-36. A moment later, Olympia was within four at 42-38 after a steal by Wright but Oak Ridge closed out the half with a putback and a three to make it a nine-point Pioneer lead at 47-38.
A 6-0 run by Olympia to start the third quarter got the Titans to within 47-44 early on. Oak Ridge shrugged it off, responding with a 7-0 run to go back up by ten, 54-44. Reinehr of Olympia scored two straight baskets at the rim to close the margin to six, but Oak Ridge wasn’t done. Reese hit back-to-back threes, Jones scored after a steal and Johnson got a bucket near the basket. It wasn’t that long ago in the quarter Olympia was down by just three. Now they were down by a score of 64-48. White hit two free throws for Olympia but buckets by Johnson and Jones closed out the third quarter. Oak Ridge was now up eighteen, 68-50.
Olympia was far from done. The Titans went on an 8-2 run, six of those from Prophete, to get to within 70-58 with plenty of time left. That twelve-point margin stayed in play for the next few possessions until Tillery completed a three-point for Oak Ridge, giving them an 80-65 lead with under four minutes to go. There simply wasn’t enough time for a Titan comeback. The best Olympia was able to do was trade baskets with the Pioneers and Oak Ridge ultimately won by the score of 87-73.
Oak Ridge placed five players in double figures led by Jones’ 27 points. Tillery added 20 points, Reese contributed 15 points, Simpson tallied 13 and Johnson finished with 10 points.
For Olympia, Prophete led the way with 20 points, Wright tallied 17 points, White finished with 14 points and Reinehr added 12 points.