LONG BEACH – As the No. 2 Troy girls basketball team left the floor sporting smiles, they kept repeating the phrase, "And she's only a freshman," over and over.
"She" is Barbara Sitanggan, and yes, she is only a freshman. But she sure didn't play like one in Troy's 50-39 nonleague victory over Long Beach Poly on Saturday night at Poly High.
Sitanggan finished with 19 points and five rebounds, and sparked a crucial fourth-quarter run that separated the Warriors from the Jackrabbits for the last time.
Troy coach Roger Anderson said he knew Poly would structure its defense around stopping Briana Roberson and Gabby Hanson, but he also knew Sitanggan was capable of this type of performance.
"We have great senior leadership but that freshman point guard played lights out," he said. "Barb is a great guard, she's poised and wise beyond her years."
Troy (20-3) had a 38-30 lead over Poly (20-4) heading into the fourth. Sitanggan scored six points in a row as the Warriors pulled away.
"I wanted to make sure that we could play with this caliber team," he said. "That's why we scheduled it right before the playoffs."
This victory was another instance of Troy, ranked ninth in California, proving it can compete with top competition.
Sitanggan showed patience as she picked apart the Poly defense, and her teammates and coaches showed the trust that Anderson spoke of. It resulted in a big victory.
"We finally played a 32-minute game," Anderson said. "It was a complete team effort."
Roberson finished with nine points, while Margaret Pugh also had nine off the bench.
Jada Matthews paced the Jackrabbits with 13 points. Arica Carter added 10.