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DREW A. KELLEY, FOR THE REGISTER
Fountain Valley's Ashley Masuda (21) gains possession of the ball during the semifinals of the Lady Barons Hoop Challenge in Fountain Valley.
See more photos from this game in the OCVarsity Hot Shots slideshow.

Salottolo pushes Orange Lutheran into title game

FOR OCVARSITY.COM

FOUNTAIN VALLEY – Behind guard Jessica Salottolo's season-high 20 points, No. 4 Orange Lutheran led from start to finish in a 54-44 victory over Fountain Valley in the semifinals of the Lady Barons Hoop Challenge on Friday night at Fountain Valley High.

Orange Lutheran (5-0) will play Huntington Beach (3-0) in the tournament championship Saturday at 2 p.m.

"The reason why tonight's game was so tough is because Fountain Valley is a really good team," Lancers coach Tom Howard said. "They battled like crazy. It was a great fight, a great high school basketball competition from two tough teams who really gave it their all."

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OCVarsity Hot Shots: Friday's games

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Salottolo opened the game by draining a 3-pointer from the corner, and it was a sign of things to come from the senior guard. She ended the quarter with another 3-pointer that gave the Lancers a 14-11 lead headed into the second.

The Barons (2-1) tied the score four times in the opening quarter but wasn't able to get even again after Salottolo's 3-pointer that ended the first.

The senior guard opened the second quarter with two more buckets, giving her seven consecutive points and extending the Lancers lead to 18-11.

"We were fortunate to get a lead early," Howard said. "It's always nice to play with a cushion, and we needed it because Fountain Valley kept battling all night."

The Lancers maintained a seven-point lead at the half and led by no less than six points throughout the third quarter.

Leading 36-30 with less than a minute left in the third, Orange Lutheran went on a quick 6-0 run to take a 42-30 lead into the fourth quarter.

Jasmine Matar and the Barons battled back, opening the final quarter with a quick 7-1 run, cutting the deficit back to six points. Matar completed a 3-point play, while Danielle Tran and Marisa Teng added jumpers to make the score 43-37.

Point guard Ari Jacobsen hit a deep 3-pointer to cut the deficit to four points with 3 minutes left.

But it was Salottolo who responded by scoring four consecutive points for the Lancers that put the game out of reach.

"This is a team that's really growing together and coming together, and I think that was evident tonight," Howard said. "They had to really just find a way to tough it out and they have been doing that all year."

Matar led Fountain Valley with 15 points.


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