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Fairmont Prep wins first CIF-SS team title
SANTA ANA – Their smiles started to appear as the third quarter neared its end.
Leading by 21 points, Fairmont Prep’s players understood that they were only eight minutes of game time away from turning those grins into an all-out celebration with their teammates, coaches and fans.
Behind Tristen Rollon’s 24 points and Cierra Hall’s 23-point, 17-rebound performance, Fairmont Prep rolled past St. Paul of Santa Fe Springs, 73-49, in the CIF-SS Division 4A championship game at Godinez High on Friday night.
Not only was the win decisive, it also gave Fairmont Prep the school’s first CIF-SS team title.
“It feels awesome,” Coach Dave Esparza said. “Everybody bought in to what we were trying to do early on in the summer. They sacrificed their own personal goals for the betterment of the team, and we just came out and got after it tonight.”
The Huskies (24-4) have won nine in a row and cruised through the playoffs, winning their five outings by an average of 30 points. They will learn Sunday where they will be placed in the state playoffs.
Their focus Friday night was on reaching a goal they chased for two years.
“After that loss against Brentwood (in last year’s 4A final), we just wanted to come back better and stronger,” Rollon said. “And now here we are, happy and excited. It’s just amazing.”
After being so close but failing to win the championship last season, Esparza’s squad was all about finishing the job this season. The offseason addition of Hall, a 6-foot sophomore transfer from Cypress, helped put the Huskies over the top.
Hall owned the paint against an undersized St. Paul team, going 9 for 11 from the field in addition to dominating the boards.
“After watching film, we knew that they (St. Paul) were going to have some height challenges,” Hall said. “We were able to take advantage of that.”
After grabbing a 16-14 lead in the first quarter, Fairmont suffocated the Swordsmen in the second. St. Paul (19-14) was 0 for 13 from the field in the quarter, and the Huskies pulled ahead, 31-15.
Junior forward Rachel Williams finished with 10 points for the Huskies.
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