In a game of multiple big runs, the Blue Jays (2-0) held on to beat the Pirates 63-52 to advance to tonight's championship in the boys basketball tournament. The Blue Jays will face Meadow Heights at 8 p.m. today for the title.
Oak Ridge jumped out to a 13-0 lead just four minutes into the game.
The Blue Jays used their pesky defense to force turnovers and covert them into easy baskets at the other end.
"We're a quick team," Oak Ridge coach Adam Stoneking said. "We have three or four guards and we have guards that play the four position. We've been practicing push the ball, push the ball, push the ball. We just try to get it up the floor and get the easy shot."
The Perryville players didn't let the score phase them.
The Pirates closed the quarter on a 12-7 run to get back in the game.
Perryville responded with a run of its own in the second quarter. After scoring the last four points of the first quarter, the Pirates continued their streak to the first six points of the second quarter to pull within two points.
Stoneking credited the Pirates' change of defense.
"We'd been such in a go, go, go," Stoneking said. "When they went zone, we were still trying to go, go, go. It forced us into turnovers and also we just turned it off. We thought it was over and we had them and they kept wanting it. It was a good eye-opener for our guys to know that you have to play four quarters."
The Pirates eventually grabbed their first lead of the game, 24-23, when Jared Hotop hit a jumper with just over three minutes left in the first half.
Oak Ridge quickly responded to regain the 27-24 advantage, but Perryville closed on a 4-0 run to head into the locker room with a 28-27 lead.
"We stopped playing defense," Blue Jays junior Brett Thomas said. "They knocked down open shots and got some offensive rebounds."
Stoneking got on his team at halftime, challenging it to pick up its intensity.
"He just yelled at us pretty good," Thomas said. "We knew we had to turn it back on."
"We had a couple guys that just weren't ready to play," Stoneking said. "They kind of slacked off. We jumped out to that big lead and they thought we had it, so I just told them we can't turn it off. You have to go as hard as you can."
The Blue Jays responded.
Oak Ridge used an 11-2 spurt to start the second half and gain a 38-30 lead it never relinquished.
"The key was toward the end of the second quarter and beginning of the third was to get back in that mentality of getting to every loose ball," Stoneking said. "We really had to get out there and get the loose balls and I thought we did."
Thomas started the third with a layup and a 3-pointer from the right wing before Garret Light took over.
Light scored eight straight points and finished with 10 for the third period.
"I just picked it up on defense," Light said. "The offense came along with it."
Thomas took over in the fourth, scoring eight of his team's 18 points. He finished with 28 in the game.
"Coach told me to be patient," Thomas said. "I was just waiting around for a good pass from one of our guards and just tried to finish in the lane."
Light added 17 and Logan Mangels tallied 15 for Oak Ridge.
Perryville's Jared Hotop tried to get his team back in the game in the fourth, but the Pirates couldn't stop the Blue Jays.
Hotop scored six points in the final quarter. Ryan Massinger tallied 10 points, while Bryce Weilbrecht added 14 points.
Weilbrecht consistently knocked down 10-foot jumpers from the free-throw line to keep the Pirates close throughout.
"The opposite guard wasn't rotating over to the high post enough," Stoneking said. "He's [Weilbrecht] a player, a good player, all the credit goes to him."
PERRYVILLE (52) -- Bryce Weilbrecht 14, Andrew Martin 4, Ryan Kassinger 10, Jared Hotop 8, Ross Moldenhauer 9, Jared Thieret 6. FG 23, FT 4-8, F 21. (3-pointers: Hotop, Moldenhauer, Fouled out: Martin.)
OAK RIDGE (63) -- Jacob Light 3, Garret Light 17, Brett Thomas 28, Logan Mangels 15. FG 22, F 12, FT 17-23. (3-pointers: Thomas, Mangels, Fouled out: None.)