Sonoran girls basketball sticks with grit and defense to defeat Buena Park in Freeway League opener – Orange County Register

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LA HABRA – The Buena Park girls’ basketball team showed its youth. Sonora countered with his championship-level grit and defense.

The latter made the difference on Wednesday as No. 6 Sonora played No. 13 Buena Park on opening night of the Freeway League.

The Raiders used their full-court press for a spark, winning crucial hustle plays to retire late for a 56-43 win at Sonora High.

Junior Kiana Graham scored 12 of her team’s high 16 points in the second half to lead Sonora (16-2), who trailed 13-3 after the first half.

Early in the fourth, Graham made a layup that followed back-to-back blocks from Buena Park newcomer Bella Harmon to give the Raiders a 44-40 lead by 5:49. Graham followed up with a 3-pointer from the corner as the Raiders went on an 11-0 run to seal the win.

“Our kids are brave and tough, and a lot of them want that,” said Sonoran coach Melissa Barajas. “They understand what it means to compete in the Freeway League … So I’m very proud of them.”

Freshman Liana Hwang helped provide the grit with 12 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. She finally gave the Raiders the lead by reserving her own miss for a 29-26 cushion early in the second half.

Senior point guard Larissa Robles helped anchor the Raiders’ press with four steals. The reigning league MVP also had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Robles sister Natalie Robles combined with newcomer Amiah Lewis for another hustle play later in the third. Natalie Robles dived for a loose ball that Lewis converted into a layup.

Buena Park (12-5) led 13-3 after the first quarter and 20-13 after a basket from freshman center Alana White (18 points, 10 rebounds) by 2:27 at halftime. But Sonora’s press quickly produced four baskets to give the Raiders a 21-20 lead.

“Our defense is what we’re known for,” Graham said. “We started out a little slow, but once we got into it, we started[forcing]to flip her, and that really helped us get going.” Sonoran girls basketball sticks with grit and defense to defeat Buena Park in Freeway League opener – Orange County Register

Russell Falcon

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