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KEVIN SULLIVAN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Gloria Bates, front, leads a balanced Orange Lutheran offense, averaging 14 points in the playoffs.

Girls basketball 3AA final: Orange Lutheran vs. Sonora

STAFF WRITER

CIF-SS GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS

DIVISION 3AA

ORANGE LUTHERAN (24-6) VS. SONORA (27-3)

Where, when: Azusa Pacific University, Saturday, 9:30 a.m.

Ticket Info: general admission, $13; students w/school ID, children (13 and under), $7; parking, free. The game will be streamed live by FoxSportsWest.com’s PrepZone.

Outlook: First team to 40 points wins, or at least that’s a very real prospect when matching up two of the best defensive teams in Orange County. Top-seeded Orange Lutheran has an opportunity to capture its second consecutive CIF championship, calling again on a smothering ‘D’ in advancing to Saturday’s finale. The Lancers have held opponents to 32 points a game this season, and in the playoffs, have lowered that number to 27 points. Five players for Orange Lutheran have scored in double figures over the course of the postseason, led by senior forward Gloria Bates, who is averaging nearly 14 per outing. The third-seeded Raiders boast eerily similar numbers, riding their own stingy defense to the school’s first CIF championship appearance. Sonora is only allowing 30 points a game, and in the postseason, has also received double-digit scoring totals from five players. Senior guard Marissa Dunn and sophomore Lainie James have each produced a 20-point performance in the last two weeks, and Sonora coach Melissa Barajas hopes they can carry that hot shooting into the final. Orange Lutheran point guard Taelor Griffin figures to be matched up with Raiders guard Meghann Henderson throughout the finale. Griffin is one of the county’s fastest ball-handlers, while Henderson is one of its best on-ball defenders. That’s where Saturday’s game should be decided. If Griffin and the Lancers have success breaking Sonora’s press, they could benefit from a number of easy buckets. But if the Raiders’ press does clamp down, they will be the benefactors of some easy offense in a game where points will be at a premium.

KENNY CONNOLLY


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