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Freshman helps Orangewood keep perfect record

STAFF WRITER

Their performance was far from perfect, but by the time the game clock hit zeroes at the end of the fourth quarter, their record still indicated just that.

Fifth-ranked Orangewood Academy rode freshman Wendy Duran’s hustle and grit in the closing eight minutes of play Thursday night to knock off St. Paul of Santa Fe Springs, 35-30, in a nonleague game at Orangewood Academy.

In a defensive battle where baskets came at a premium, Duran attacked the basket and scored all of her team-high 10 points in the fourth quarter. Four of her points came in the final 60 seconds, helping Orangewood Academy protect its lead.

“She was lights out tonight,” Spartans coach Leslie Aragon said of Duran. “Obviously, our starting backcourt with the two seniors is really good, and next year Wendy will step in and start. But tonight she earned her stripes. She was fearless.”

The Spartans improved to 14-0, remaining Orange County’s lone unbeaten team a month and a half into the season. But for the second game in a row, the victory came in spite of an offense that struggled.

With St. Paul (12-6) – a CIF-SS finalist last season – able to match Orangewood’s size and athleticism in the post, the Spartans were unable to get sophomores Jaqueline Saucedo or Estefania Giner going in the paint. Both players tallied a season-low four points a piece, forcing the Spartans to look elsewhere for offense.

“This is the second game in a row we’ve gutted it out offensively,” Aragon added. “St. Paul played really well defensively, but we’re just not executing. We weren’t hitting our screens and the posts weren’t holding their position. A bunch of breakdowns.”

The Spartans locked down the Swordsmen on the defensive end, limiting St. Paul to two points in the third quarter and one field goal until the two-minute mark in the fourth.

St. Paul used a quick 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 29-26 with a minute to play. Duran’s ability to drive the lane and finish at the basket allowed Orangewood to fend off the Swordsmen.

Also in nonleague games:

Cypress 53, No. 9 Canyon 51: Haley Morikawa scored a team-high 16 points, Justina Yoo chipped in with 11 and Aggie Manu grabbed 12 rebounds as the Centurions handed the visiting Comanches their second loss of the season. Canyon sophomore point guard Nicola Furumoto led all scorers with 20 points.

In the Trinity League:

No. 1 Mater Dei 50, Rosary 22: Junior point guard Jayda Adams finished with a game-high 20 points, and the Monarchs held the Royals to four points in the second half.

In the Orange Coast League:

Laguna Beach 51, Godinez 41: Jackie Cenan (24) and Alexandra Lewis (14) led the way for the Breakers.

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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