Fairmont Prep dominates league showdown with Orangewood


ANAHEIM – Fairmont Prep came up just three seconds shy of blanking rival Orangewood Academy in the second quarter, a late free throw serving as the lone point surrendered.

It carried that defensive dominance over into the second half, limiting the visiting Spartans to a mere four points in the third quarter.

The fourth-ranked Huskies rode their stingy defensive effort to a 54-36 win over No. 6 Orangewood Academy on Thursday night, all but locking up the San Joaquin League title in front of their home fans at Fairmont Prep.

“Luckily we can shoot in our own gym, it’s a tough place to play,” Huskies coach Dave Esparza said. “We got out to a quick start hitting a couple jumpers. Cierra (Hall) on the inside was instrumental getting us fired up to start the game, making a few baskets. And then the defensive pressure was good, switching between man and zone pretty regularly.”

Hall scored eight of her game-high 15 points in the first quarter, which helped Fairmont (18-5, 5-0) take a 15-12 lead into the second.

Tight on-ball pressure gave Orangewood fits on offense the ensuing two quarters. With the Spartans (17-7, 3-2) going 0 for 7 from the field in the second, plus turning the ball over seven times, they saw their deficit balloon to 16 by the half.

The struggles only continued. Elizabeth Garcia’s 3-pointer at the 2:50 mark in the third was Orangewood’s first made field goal in 13-plus minutes.

Over the second and third quarters, the Spartans made just 1 of 23 shots, turned the ball over 11 times and trailed, 42-17, headed to the fourth.

“Tonight was the first night – the first three quarters anyway – that I felt we just didn’t compete,” Spartans coach Leslie Aragon explained. “That’s the disappointing thing. With the tough schedule, we were losing close games, but we were competing and I figured we would fix the execution. Tonight we played scared and it just didn’t work out.”

Fairmont Prep finished with three scorers in double figures. Christina Li scored 13 and Rachel Williams added 11.

Elizabeth Garcia finished with 12 points for Orangewood.

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