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    Buena Park basketball point guard Hannah Fuentes injured in loss to Ontario Christian
    • January 19, 2024

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    BUENA PARK — Buena Park’s girls basketball team encountered a physical and emotional setback in the opening minutes of its showdown against visiting Ontario Christian on Thursday.

    Early in the first quarter, starting point guard Hannah Fuentes suffered an apparent knee injury after falling awkwardly on a jump shot near the elbow of the key. The junior received medical care and was taken off the court on a stretcher, her teammates walking closely by her side.

    Buena Park then turned its attention back to the daunting matchup with Ontario Christian and Kaleena Smith.

    The star freshman guard proved too much. She scored 45 points and added 10 assists to lead the Knights to a 98-69 victory in a clash of teams on the CIF-SS Open Division watch list.

    Smith delivered an array of spectacular shots and assists — including 19 points in the third period — but a major storyline for Buena Park was the loss of Fuentes with 5:30 left in the first quarter.

    “It broke all our hearts. It was bad,” said Buena Park junior Gloria Barrera, a club teammate with Fuentes on Cal Storm. “We just fought for her. She’s been putting in the hard work and she was ready for this. And just to see that happen, it was just heartbreaking.”

    Buena Park (13-8), ranked fifth in CIF-SS Division 2AA, led 11-4 in the first quarter before Ontario Christian’s full-court pressure and explosive offense became too much.

    The Coyotes also struggled with foul trouble in the first half as the Knights took a 48-38 lead.

    Buena Park received a boost in the third period from Mya Barnes, trimming its deficit to 57-51. But Smith seized control by making four of her seven 3-pointers in the frame, including one to at the buzzer.

    Buena Park coach DeAnthony Wiley praised Smith but his heart was with Fuentes.

    “I felt we would have had a shot (with Fuentes),” he said. “Tough way to start. Mentally, it’s tough to bring the kids back. Even me. It’s still tough. She’s probably done for this season.”

    Wiley found positives in his team’s fight, which included double-doubles from Barrera (20 points, 12 rebounds) and Alana White (16 points, 11 rebounds). Barnes added all 13 of her points in the second half.

    “I’m proud of these kids,” he said. “To me, this proves that we can go win a title by the way we play.”

    Smith entered averaging almost 35 points for Ontario Christian (18-3), ranked third in Division 1.

    A heckler called her “overrated” during one of her foul shots in the first half but dominated. She made 7 of 9 shots from the floor in the third period.

    “That doesn’t really affect me because I know who I am and I know who I’m going to be and I’ve worked hard for a reason,” Smith said of the heckler.

    Smith played both guard spots, scoring on shifty drives, floaters and perimeter shots. She racked up steals and broke down defenses for easy assists to teammates.

    “She can do it all,” Ontario Christian coach Matt Tumambing said of Smith. “She’s someone that I like to call a generational-type player. Just her feel for the game.”

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    ​ Orange County Register