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NICK AGRO , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Fairmont Prep's Cierra Hall struggles for the ball during a game against Troy.

Coveted transfer Smith helps Troy beat No. 4 Fairmont Prep

STAFF WRITER

FULLERTON – The talent is always undeniable, but a month and a half into the season, no one knew just how good the Troy girls basketball team was, namely, because the Warriors hadn’t played a game this season in Orange County before Saturday night.

The home debut was worth the wait, as the Freeway League power showcased its newest weapon.

Coveted junior transfer Kianna Smith was one of four Warriors starters to put up double figures as third-ranked Troy flexed its muscles in a 58-41 win over No. 4 Fairmont Prep in a highly anticipated nonleague showdown at Troy High.

Senior wing Rebecca Lazuka led all scorers with 17 points, while Smith, who transferred from J.W. North of Riverside, finished with 12 in her first game wearing a Warriors jersey. Recently nominated McDonald’s All-American Barbara Sitanggan added 10, as did forward Naomi Hunt.

“There was some rust there, but putting in a new wheel, you got to get used to it,” Warriors coach Roger Anderson said. “I’ve got to get used to it as a coach. Kianna’s at a whole other level though. With her and Barb, I think I’ve got the best backcourt. I’ll challenge anybody in the state with those two.”

Assigned to shadow Huskies ultra-aggressive point guard Tristen Rollon, Smith held her to just nine points. Cierra Hall did finish with 16 points, but she was held to just a pair of free throws in the second half.

“We relaxed and clamped down a little bit better after halftime,” Anderson said. “We still got a long way to go. Got to figure out where people like getting the ball, and just getting that rust off.”

Troy (8-4) stretched a 28-24 halftime lead into a 41-31 edge by the start of the fourth.

With Fairmont Prep (12-3) unable to feed Hall the ball in the high post, the Huskies struggled in the second half. They shot under 30 percent from the field in the final 16 minutes of play, turning the ball over 11 times in that same time span.

“Just a tale of two halves for us,” Fairmont coach Dave Esparza said. “We played well in the first half and played really flat in the second. A little tentative and we weren’t shooting the ball like we should’ve been. They’re talented. Kianna Smith makes them a really good club.”

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.om


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