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Finals previews: Friday's games

STAFF WRITER

CIF-SS GIRLS BASKETBALL FINALS

FRIDAY'S GAMES

DIVISION 4A

Fairmont Prep (23-4) vs. St. Paul of Santa Fe Springs (19-13)

Where, when: Godinez High, 5 p.m.

Fan info: Tickets are $12 general admission, $5 students with valid ID and children (3-13). Parking is free.

Outlook: Fairmont Prep is back in the CIF-SS finals for a second consecutive season. The Huskies lost to Brentwood, 62-56, in last year’s 4A final. Fairmont has reeled off eight straight wins by an average margin of 33 points. Sophomore center Cierra Hall has been lethal in the post over the second half of the season, leading the team in scoring (18.3 points per game) and rebounding (9.7) since the start of January. Add guards Samantha Clement, Tristen Rollon and Maud Ranger into the mix, and Fairmont has four players capable of scoring 20 points on any given night. In St. Paul, Fairmont will see an undersized but quick squad that doesn’t feature a player taller than 5-foot-9. Defensively, the Huskies must contain Swordsmen guards Clarissa Perez and Adriana Gonzalez, who each have 30-point performances this postseason. If Fairmont can slow down that pair in the backcourt and utilize Hall’s size advantage down low, it has a great opportunity to winthe school’s first CIF title.

DIVISION 4AA

JSerra (23-6) vs. Bishop Montgomery of Torrance (17-13)

Where, when: Godinez High, 7 p.m.

Fan info: Tickets are $12 general admission, $5 students with valid ID and children (3-13). Parking is free.

Outlook: For the second consecutive season, JSerra and Bishop Montgomery will duke it out for the 4AA championship. The Knights edged out the Lions in dramatic fashion, 46-43, a year ago, so Mary Rossignol’s squad will be plenty motivated for a little revenge this go-round. JSerra comes into the finals winners of eight straight, and in their three playoff victories, a ruthless defensive effort has led the charge. The Lions are limiting opponents to just 25 points a game in the postseason. In last weekend’s semis, JSerra rolled past Trinity League foe Rosary by 40, holding the Royals to quarter totals of 2, 14, 5 and 2 points. Coco Miller, Megan House, Lexi Vail and Julia Ackerman have all produced double digit scoring efforts in the postseason, and that’s the kind of depth that makes the Lions even more dangerous this year. If JSerra can maintain the level of play it got to the finals with, look for the Lions to bring home their first-ever girls basketball championship.

DIVISION 3A

Orange Lutheran (22-8) vs. Santa Margarita (18-13)

Where, when: Godinez High, 9 p.m.

Fan info: Tickets are $12 general admission, $5 students with valid ID and children (3-13). Parking is free.

Outlook: Will the third time be the charm for Santa Margarita, or can Orange Lutheran knock off its Trinity League foe yet again to claim a CIF championship? This will be the third meeting between the Eagles and Lancers in the last two months, with Orange Lutheran winning the first two encounters by 13- and 12-point margins. The Lancers’ defense has given the Eagles fits this season, as Tori Anderson is the lone Santa Margarita player to score in double figures in either of the two previous meetings (16 points in a loss back on Jan. 22). Point guard Nikki Wilkins and center Taylor Donohue have been great for Santa Margarita on its current four-game run, and will need to keep that play up to have any shot at knocking off the top-seeded Lancers. Orange Lutheran has held each of its four playoffs opponents to under 40 points, while they’ve gotten double-digit scoring efforts from Taelor Griffin, Gloria Bates, Jessie Matson and Brooke Hutto.

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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