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NICK AGRO , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Fairmont Prep's Izzy Om tries to block as Troy senior Barbara Sitanggan goes up for shot at Troy.

Troy shows signs of even better days ahead

STAFF WRITER

With nearly everyone back from last season’s CIF-SS 1A runner-up squad, there was little reason to doubt Troy would be one of the top teams in the county this season.

Pepperdine commits Barbara Sitanggan and Rebecca Lazuka have developed a strong on-court chemistry, and fellow starters Naomi Hunt and Brooke Sinek are capable scorers with a knack for making the types of hustle plays that help win ballgames.

The biggest unknown was how Kianna Smith, a transfer from North of Riverside, would fit into the equation.

Based on what the third-ranked Warriors showed Saturday in a 58-41 victory over No. 4 Fairmont Prep, they have the makings of one of the top teams in the state.

Saturday’s game was Smith’s first since she became eligible. With coaches from UCLA and Cal in attendance, the junior guard scored 12 points, grabbed eight rebounds dished out four assists in her debut with the Warriors. She also played superb defense on ultra-athletic Huskies guard Tristen Rollon.

“When you look at it, we haven’t consistently played since Dec. 5,” Troy coach Roger Anderson explained after Saturday’s game, which was just the fourth game in the past month for his team.

“Now we’re putting in a new wheel with Kianna being with us, so that’s going to take some getting used to.”

Anderson added that he thinks his backcourt of Smith and Sitanngan is as good as any backcourt in the state.

His team will go up against a pretty good one next Monday when the Warriors play No. 2 Brea Olinda in the MLK Shootout at Serra of Gardena.

ALL-AMERICAN NOMINEES

Reili Richardson (Brea Olinda), Ally Rosenblum (Mater Dei) and Sitanggan were the county’s three seniors nominated to play in the McDonalds’s All-American Game in Chicago in March.

Thirty-six girls from California were nominated last week for the annual national showcase. In total, 760 high school seniors – boys and girls – from across the country earned nominations.

Richardson (22 points per game) and Rosenblum (18.2) are in the county’s top five for scoring. Sitanggan is averaging 12.5 points along with 6.5 rebounds and four steals.

The rosters for the game will be announced Jan. 17. The game will be held March 30 at the United Center.

SHOWCASE SATURDAY

Four of the teams in the Orange County top 10 will be in action Saturday, each taking on highly regarded oppponent.

Mater Dei, which has won eight in a row, will travel north to play Miramonte of Orinda (12-0) at St. Mary’s in Stockton. MaxPreps.com’s ranks the Matadors at No. 2 in the state and No. 5 in the country.

Fairmont Prep and Orangewood Academy will compete in the Public vs. Private Schools showcase at Burroughs in Burbank the same day. The Huskies are scheduled to play defending Open Division champ, Chaminade of West Hills (14-2). The Eagles, ranked No. 3 in California and No. 7 nationally, feature two of the best players in the country in Valerie Higgins and Neah Odom, who played at Los Alamitos and Mater Dei before transferring to Chaminade.

The Spartans play Valencia of Valencia (10-3) in the same event.

Troy will travel to take on perennial Inland Empire power Etiwanda, while Edison will be host to Orange Lutheran.

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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