Orange Lutheran hands Orangewood Academy its first loss of the season


GARDEN GROVE – Fifth-ranked Orangewood Academy (Division 5AA) and No. 6 Orange Lutheran (Division 3A) are the defending CIF-SS champions in their respective divisions.

Taelor Griffin had 11 points, five rebounds, and five assists as Orange Lutheran handed the Spartans their first loss of the season, 40-32, in a nonleague game at Orangewood Academy.

Gloria Bates added eight points and six rebounds, and Jessi Matson added nine points for the Lancers (13-3).

Led by Estefania Giner (12 points), Orangewood carried the play for most of first half. The Spartans (14-1) were up, 14-10, after the first quarter.

Orange Lutheran went on an 8-0 run over the final three minutes of the second quarter. Matson’s mid-range jumper as the half expired gave the Lancers the edge, 25-22.

When the Lancers needed plays early, they turned to Griffin’s ability to drive into the paint. The senior guard took away the threat of the shot block by Orangewood’s Jaqueline Saucedo and Giner by getting to the free-throw line.

“The objective was just to put them in foul trouble,” Griffin said. “It was a good matchup.”

The stage of such a highly anticipated game makes some ponder what these teams will be capable of in this year’s postseason. Asked if his team is motivated to make a run at another CIF divisional crown, Lancers coach Tom Howard said his girls remain focused on daily improvement.

“This group doesn’t think too far ahead,” he said. “I don’t think they’re really thinking CIF. I think they’re just thinking, ‘What do we have to do now to improve?’”

Perhaps that’s best with the Trinity League opening next week. The Lancers will be at Rosary on Thursday.

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