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FULLERTON — Troy girls basketball coach Roger Anderson didn’t tell his team Friday they face a must-win situation against visiting Sunny Hills. But the experienced coach came pretty close.
Anderson called the Warriors’ fourth game of the first round of the Freeway League “extremely important” in the team’s postseason journey.
He sees securing an automatic playoff entry as his team’s best route considering Troy entered the night four games under .500, a must for teams bidding for a vacant berth.
Troy’s path to CIF looked straighter by the end of the night.
Kayla Borgelt and Kaylene Vivo each had 15 points and Mikayla Pagcaliwagan added 13 as the Warriors defeated the No. 16 in Sunny Hills 43-30 to equal their league record 2-2 and move into third place move.
The top three finishers in the Freeway League will automatically receive playoff spots.
“This was a big win for us to get back (on the track) and play better,” said Vivo, a sophomore point guard who added 11 rebounds, two assists and two steals. “That game really[showed]us what we can be.”
Troy (7-10, 2-2) had three players in double digits in the same game for the first time this season.
The Warriors, who are unranked in Orange County and CIF-SS Division 2AA, are without injured starters Annika Jiwani and Keira Ujiki, both returning from knee injuries.
The young side also started the season with Vivo staying out of suspension due to their move from Rosary.
The trio of Borgelt, Vivo and Pagcaliwagan – a junior and two sophomores – delivered a strike on Friday, scoring eight 3-pointers combined. Borgelt sank three in the first half. Pagcaliwagan also finished on three while Vivo sank two.
But the Warriors’ key was their defense, specifically a unique 1-1-3 full-court press. The Warriors forced 19 turnovers, including eight in the second half, which helped open a 15-9 lead at halftime. Troy beat the Lancers 12-3 in the second.
“Our energy was incredible,” said Borgelt. “The press was really good. We were on the fast track.”
Borgelt made a key backcourt steal on an outlet pass and hit a layup to lead Troy into fourth at 29-20.
Pagcaliwagan made a 3-pointer from the corner on an assist from Vivo to extend the lead to 32-22 early in the fourth. Vivo later put a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to 37-24 with 4:19 left.
Fourth in Division 3AA, Sunny Hills (16-6, 2-2) lost his second straight league game. The Lancers lost Tuesday to a 3-pointer from Buena Park’s Bella Harmon.
The Lancers had six players – three more than Troy – but none reached double figures. Junior point guard Erin Choi had eight points while junior forward Natalie Do had three points and 10 rebounds.
Junior guard Taylor Parra added six points, including two of the Lancers’ six 3-pointers.
https://www.ocregister.com/2023/01/13/troy-girls-basketball-beats-sunny-hills-to-hang-tough-in-the-freeway-league/ Troy girls’ basketball beats Sunny Hills to stay tough in Freeway League – Orange County Register