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    Girls basketball roundup: Anaheim, San Juan Hills, Sunny Hills post critical league victories
    • January 23, 2024

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    Anaheim’s girls basketball team recognized the hunger in its upstart opponent Monday, and the passion in the home crowd rooting for an upset.

    The Colonists turned to their experience and conditioning to maintain their tight hold of the Orange League.

    Sophomores Aleah McGregor and Ashley Guzman combined for 31 points as visiting Anaheim extended its league winning streak to 63 consecutive games with a 54-37 victory at boisterous Savanna.

    McGregor, a point guard, scored a game-high 17 points and Guzman, a forward, added 14 points as Anaheim (22-1, 6-0) pulled away in the second half in a clash of CIF Southern Section-ranked teams.

    Anaheim, ranked second in Division 3AA, led 31-25 a halftime but forced 11 turnovers in the third quarter to take control.

    “These girls have played in big games,” Anaheim coach Vince Gomez said. “They’ve been around stuff like this. We beat Hesperia last year (in the playoffs) in double overtime. These sophomores were freshmen. They were part of that.”

    “So for them to feel a certain way (tonight), it’s more like, ‘Hey, I recognize my environment,’ ” he added.

    Anaheim started to make its move in the middle of the second quarter after Savanna (17-6, 4-2) tied the score at 22-22.

    The Colonists closed the first half on a 9-3 run and outscored the Rebels 11-5 in the third period.

    Senior point guard Elise Marquez highlighted Anaheim’s second-half surge with an assist to Guzman for a layup late in the third.

    End of 3rd: Anaheim 42, Savanna 30

    — Dan Albano (@ocvarsityguy) January 23, 2024

    McGregor credited Anaheim’s conditioning for forcing the turnovers and maintaining its fast-tempo well into the fourth.

    “As much those days of training are super-hard and all of us are like, ‘Oh, I can’t take it’ we all know when it comes down to being in the game, it shows,” said McGregor, who had seven steals and six assists. “We are able to last longer with our endurance … and it’s because of our coach.”

    Savanna, ranked first in Division 5AA, might have been closer at halftime but struggled at the free throw line, going 3 for 14 in the second quarter.

    Sophomore guard Camaila Carigma paced the Rebels with 12 points and three steals.

    Savanna coach Ramez Michail praised Anaheim but stayed positive about his team, which ran a 2-2-1 full-court press.

    “I’m happy about our progress,” he said. “It just wasn’t our time yet to take down the big dogs but we’re going to keep grinding and fighting because our prize is much bigger that a (league) banner. We’re trying do something special here. See how far we can go in CIF.”

    In the South Coast League:

    San Juan Hills 66, San Clemente 49:  Senior Sydney Peterson scored a career-high 28 points and Anna Shreeve added 23 as the host Stallions knocked off the No. 9 Tritons in the teams’ first league game.

    In the Freeway League:

    Sunny Hills 50, Sonora 40: Natalie Do scored 24 points and Erin Choi added 19 as the visiting Lancers swept the Raiders to maintain their hold of second place.

    In the Trinity League:

    Mater Dei 93, JSerra 36: Duke commit Jenessa Cotton continued her strong play with 25 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Monarchs (19-7, 6-0).

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    ​ Orange County Register