NEWPORT COAST — Sage Hill High’s up-and-coming girls basketball team played another tough opponent down to the wire on Wednesday, May 12.
Hannah Stines of Orangewood Academy made sure the Lightning remain in search of a breakthrough victory.
The guard sank a 3-pointer with about a minute left in the fourth quarter to help lift visiting No. 2 Orangewood Academy past No. 7 Sage Hill 57-53 in the teams’ first of consecutive games in the San Joaquin League.
First-place Orangewood Academy (9-3, 5-1) plays host to third-place Sage Hill (12-4, 3-2) again on Thursday, May 13.
Stines’ 3-pointer gave the Spartans a 55-50 lead and answered a 3-pointer by Sage Hill junior guard Isabel Gomez, who made her shot after a slick, pump-fake and side-step from the wing.
Stines added two free throws with 24.5 seconds left and a steal at half court as time expired. The junior finished with a game-high 22 points and added 13 rebounds and six assists.
Orangewood Academy senior center Aixchel Hernandez, playing with a broken nose, supported Stines with a season-high 18 points.
Sage Hill trailed 50-39 early in the fourth quarter before surging to the finish. Freshman guard Zoie Lamkin sparked the surge with consecutive field goals and scored 10 of her 12 points in the period. Center Emily Elliott led Sage Hill with 17 points.
Freshman forward Emily Eadie and Gomez added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Sage Hill, playing without two, key freshmen due to injuries, led 30-28 at halftime but Orangewood outscored the Lightning 18-4 in the third to take the lead. The Lightning also have narrow losses to Sierra Canyon and Fairmont Prep.
GARDEN GROVE — Orangewood Academy’s girls basketball team seized the victory it needed Wednesday, May 5 to stay in contention for the San Joaquin League title.
Keyla Romo made sure it counted for her grandmother, too.
On a night in which baskets were hard to come by, the guard sank a career-best four 3-pointers to help the No. 5 Spartans knock off visiting No. 2 Fairmont Prep 44-29 on the same day her grandmother died in Mexico after a fight with COVID-19.
Romo pounded her chest after one of her three first-half 3-pointers and drilled one more with 2:41 left in the fourth quarter en route to 14 points, which matched Hannah Stines for game-high honors.
“I was emotionally broke but then I realized that she wanted me to play hard and play for her,” Romo said of her grandmother Maria, who lived in Chihuahua, Mexico. “That’s what motivated me.”
Orangewood Academy (5-3, 3-1) avenged an earlier loss to Fairmont Prep (8-5, 4-1) in league and now moves on to play Sage Hill (10-2, 1-1) in back-to-back games May 12-13.
Romo said her grandmother was a fixture of her childhood and also a positive influence during the injury struggles as a sophomore and junior. She suffered a torn ACL just prior to her sophomore season and missed most of her junior season after having a second surgery due to scar tissue.
“She said I was her star,” Romo said of her grandmother.
Romo added a team-high four steals to help lead the Spartans’ defense. Orangewood Academy opened in a 2-3 defense before switching to a matchup zone.
“She played the game of her life,” Orangewood Academy coach Leslie Aragon said of Romo, an uncommitted 5-foot-10 senior. “All of those 3s. She came out with energy. She keys a lot of the stuff on defense. .. She was tough as nails. I’m so proud of her.”
Romo shared the spotlight with Stines, who scored 10 points in the second half and added 15 rebounds. The junior highlighted the fourth quarter by diving for a loose ball and then driving in heavy traffic on the ensuing possession for a left-handed layup to give the Spartans a 42-29 lead.
Amaya Lacy added 10 points and nine rebounds for Orangewood Academy. Aixchel Hernandez also helped the defense with two blocks and nine rebounds.
The Spartans made 1 of 13 shots from the floor in the second quarter to lead 19-13 at intermission.
Makaila Glynn led Fairmont Prep with 12 points and three steals. The Huskies made 1 of their first 17 3 pointers.
“We got the shots we wanted but just couldn’t hit tonight,” Fairmont Prep coach Sara Brown said.
Three Orange County girls basketball standouts have suffered season-ending knee injuries.
Capistrano Valley High senior Leah Manning, San Juan Hills senior Emily Freeman and San Clemente junior Jolie Johnson are among the county players who have been injured early in the spring season.
Manning, a third-team All-County selection last season, suffered a knee injury last week against Dana Hills but will not need surgery, her father Tim said. Her plan is undergo physical therapy for the next 10 to 12 weeks, he said.
Freeman, a senior bound for Irvine Valley College, tore her ACL against Tustin, Stallions coach Paul Edwards said. “Such a heart-breaking scenario for a fantastic, senior kid,” Edwards said of Freeman, who made a school-record 83 3-pointers last season.
Freeman was a fourth-team All-County selection last season and co-MVP of the Sea View League.
Johnson suffered an ACL injury against Rosary and will miss the season, Tritons coach Kerri Husbands said. She helped the Tritons reach the CIF finals last season.
San Clemente junior Riley Brown (knee) also is out for season because of a knee injury from playing beach volleyball in the fall, the coach said.
Orangewood Academy all-league guard Kaila Woo suffered a torn ACL in February, Spartans coach Leslie Aragon said.
JSERRA FORFEITS FIRST HALF OF TRINITY LEAGUE
JSerra will forfeit the first half of its Trinity League season due to lack of players and “unforeseen circumstances”, the school announced this week.
Second-year coach Geoffrey Clayton said this week the new CIF calendar, the ongoing club season and injuries have left the Lions with a “low” number of players.
JSerra, which has yet to play a game this spring, earlier lost center Ava Carter to a season-ending shoulder injury. Clayton’s freshman daughter, Jailynn, also has been slowed by injury.
“It’s really an unfortunate situation,” Clayton said. “The girls have been working extremely hard for the past year but the pandemic has had an enormous impact on us this year.”
This week. JSerra was scheduled to play Mater Dei on Wednesday and Santa Margarita on Friday.
Please send girls basketball news to Dan Albano at firstname.lastname@example.org or @ocvarsityguy on Twitter
LA HABRA — Point guard Alyssa Ke played the role of promising freshman in January 2018 when Sonora High’s girls basketball team upset Troy to snap the Warriors’ state record for consecutive league victories at 219.
On Wednesday, April 21, she excelled in the role of clutch, senior point guard as the Raiders shook up the Orange County basketball scene again.
Ke scored a game-high 16 points and teamed with fellow guards Haylie Dermer and Jazmin Sheikh to lead No. 11 Sonora to a convincing 48-33 victory against visiting No. 6 Troy in the Freeway League opener for each school.
Ke sank a 3-pointer from the top of the circle with about 20 seconds left in the first half to give the Raiders (6-3, 1-0) the lead for good at 20-19. In the second half, she helped her squad lead last season’s CIF Division 1 runner-up by as many as 19 points.
“I really felt we were going to win — I didn’t know it was going to be by this much,” Ke said. “We just knew how to run all their plays and we were really prepared. Coach (Melissa Barajas) really prepared us.”
Ke, Dermer (11 points) and Sheikh (13 points) each sank three 3-pointers apiece en route to reaching double figures against Troy (6-5, 0-1), which is learning to play without standout junior Hannah Stines, now at Orangewood Academy.
The Raiders made 9 of 16 attempts from beyond the arc but also defended and rebounded well. They held Troy point guard Bella Pearson to 12 points, including one second-half field goal, and limited Pacific-bound center Indigo Parker to eight points, eight rebounds. Parker collected four blocks on defense.
“I preach defense and I’m just so proud how our kids defended,” said Barajas, in her 19th season. “They really followed our defensive game plan to a T and they battled on the boards.”
Mia Miyatake, a 5-foot-8 senior, guarded the 6-foot-5 Parker mostly from behind and focused on being physical and rebounding. “If she (Parker) was going to hit a ton of shots, we were going to have to live with that because we just don’t have the size,” Barajas said.
Miyatake and sophomore Larissa Robles also chipped in four points for Sonora.
Troy made only 1 of 8 attempts from beyond the arc. The Warriors also were 2 for 10 from the floor in the fourth quarter.
They’ll play host to the Raiders on May 7 and could need to a victory to earn a share of the league crown and extend their state-record streak of consecutive league titles to 29.
“They played hard. They hit the shots,” Troy coach Roger Anderson said of Sonora. “All I’m hoping is we continue to get better.”
Troy’s duo of forwards Maggie Teven and Aliyah Gonzalez combined for nine points, nine rebounds and four assists.
High-scoring Oxford Academy point guard Angie Choi has committed to Division III MIT, the Patriots’ girls basketball program announced.
The 5-foot-3 Choi led Orange County in scoring last season by averaging 21.6 points. She shined for a team that finished 12-16 after graduating seven seniors from its CIF-SS Division 2-A runner-up squad in 2019.
Choi also averaged 4.1 assists and 3.7 steals last season. She scored a season-high 36 points in a 53-51 loss against Cerritos.
In three seasons at Oxford Academy, Choi ranks second in school history in scoring (1,323 points) and owns the school record for 3-pointers (128). She made 56 of her 168 attempts (33 percent) from beyond the arc last season.
MIT reached the Division III postseason in 2018 and 2019, losing in the first round each year. The Engineers also won their New England conference title in 2018 and 2019, and placed second last season.
Assistant Meghan O’Connell was named the team’s interim coach in September.
Please send girls basketball news to Dan Albano at email@example.com or @ocvarsityguy on Twitter and Instagram
The start to Asia Avinger’s promising collegiate basketball career will be delayed.
The San Diego State freshman from Rosary High announced on Tuesday, Nov. 24 that she recently suffered a torn ACL that will require surgery.
The Aztecs are scheduled to open their season Wednesday against Washington at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“A few days ago, I had a freak accident and ended up tearing my ACL completely,” Avinger wrote on her Instagram. “I know this is in God’s plan and he gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers. … This is just one obstacle that I have to overcome but best believe I’ll come back stronger than ever.”
Avinger, a 5-foot-7 guard, arrived at San Diego State coming off an outstanding senior season in which she earned Register player of the year and female athlete of the year honors.
The highest-ranked recruit under eighth-year coach Stacie Terry-Hutson, Avinger was selected the preseason freshman of the year in the Mountain West Conference.
Last season, Avinger led Rosary to its second consecutive CIF State Division 1 final before the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the championship game.
She averaged 13.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists to earn Trinity League MVP.
San Diego State was picked to finish fourth in the Mountain West Conference behind favorite Fresno State, San Jose State and Boise State.
Avinger’s twin brother, Noah, a senior at Servite, has committed to San Diego State for football.
A look back at the OCVarsity award winners for the 2019-20 high school sports season.
Athletes and coaches of the year and All-County teams were selected for the fall and winter sports. For the spring sports, which had their season cut short by COVID-19, the Register chose an Outstanding Senior for each sport.
The Register wraps up a year of excellence in high school sports by selecting the Orange County Athletes of the Year.
The honorees are featured in a special section that includes lists of all of the athletes and coaches who received OCVarsity honors in 2019-20. The section is included in Sunday’s edition of the Register.
There is also an interactive online version of the section that can be found here.
This year, because of COVID-19, the Register couldn’t host its annual banquet for all of the year’s award winners, but the OCVarsity staff congratulates the honorees, including Rosary’s Asia Avinger, who received the Trinity League Athlete of the Year award from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange.
To read the individual stories, click on the athlete names below.
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The diverse high school athletics career of Jon Caffrey has made another turn.
Sunny Hills’ successful athletic director and former football coach has left the Freeway League school and accepted an assistant principal post at nearby Fullerton, he confirmed Thursday.
Caffrey, 48, will oversee athletics, ASB and discipline at Fullerton.
“It’s always difficult to leave something that’s been home,” he said of Sunny Hills. “But I’m excited for this new challenge.”
As Sunny Hills’ athletic director the past six years, Caffrey replaced the legendary Ralph Trigsted and guided some of the best coaches in Orange County.
Six of Caffrey’s coaches earned Orange County Register coach of the year honors. They were: Pete Karavedas (football), Jae Byun (girls basketball), Keith Nighswonger (girls water polo), Arlie Kearney (baseball), Mike Schade (boys soccer) and Jeff Gordon (girls soccer).
Sunny Hills also won multiple CIF-SS titles and one CIF State SoCal crown during Caffrey’s tenure.
This past season, the Lancers’ football team captured its first section title since 1992. The boys and girls soccer teams have also claimed titles in recent years.
Byun led the girls basketball team to the SoCal regional title and a trip to the state championships three seasons ago.
“He has done an amazing job at Sunny Hills,” Karavedas said of Caffrey, who also coached softball for two years at the school.
Interestingly, Caffrey coached Karavedas (Calvary Chapel/Downey) and Byun (Sunny Hills) in high school and then mentored them into top coaches.
Caffrey arrived at Sunny Hills in 2009 to coach football. He previously coached football at Whittier Christian, the program his father Tom led to three section championships.
Sunny Hills has not announced a new athletic director.
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Mater Dei’s Devin Askew is the Orange County boys basketball player of the year for the 2019-20 season. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)
Twin brothers Cassius, left, and Caine Savage on the football field at Western High School in Anaheim on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. The brothers signed letters of intent with San Diego State and Utah. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)
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Pitcher, Kylee Magee of Canyon is named to the 2019 Orange County All-County softball team. Magee is shown in Irvine on Tuesday, May 21, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)
Mater Dei Monarchs wide receiver Kyron Ware-Hudson (10) points to the sky after making a catch in the end zone for a touchdown against the St. John Bosco Braves during the first half of the 2019 CIF Southern Section Division 1 High School Football Championship game at Cerritos College in Norwalk, Calif. on Saturday November 30, 2019. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)
Protests at community parks, in front of government buildings and on city streets aren’t the only places in Southern California that young people are expressing their feelings about the death of George Floyd, racism and equality in America.
Some of Orange County’s most well-known high school athletes have made their voices heard on social media since the unarmed Floyd died in Minneapolis at the hands of police on May 25.
Rosary point guard Asia Avinger, The Register’s player of the year in girls basketball for 2019-20, has been among the most vocal on her Instagram account.
The San Diego State signee recently shared with her more than 10,000 followers a video of a young girl tearful saying, “I could die from the color of my skin.”
“There is so much hate in the world that we live in and it’s so horrific that even children are starting to understand how cruel the real world is,” Avinger wrote on the post that included the hashtag BLACKLIVESMATTER.
“There is so much hurt, pain and anger that we are feeling due to discrimination and racism.
“It shouldn’t matter the color of our skin, we should be treated with respect and equality. … We need CHANGE and I pray everyday that things get better.”
Mater Dei point guard Devin Askew, The Register’s boys basketball player of the year this past season, posted a photo this week that looked like himself in a shirt that read, “I Can’t Breathe”, a rallying crying at many protests for Floyd.
Floyd’s death, while in police custody, has sparked nationwide unrest.
“We are all equal!” the Kentucky-bound Askew wrote to his more than 78,000 followers on Instagram. “We are one! Together we fight for what is right.”
Western All-County wide receiver/cornerback Caine Savage also encouraged unity in a post on Instagram on Wednesday.
“We are BLACK MEN! We build. We don’t tear down other BLACK MEN!” the Utah signee wrote to his more than 3,000 followers. “All too often, we men find it easier to criticize each other instead of building each other up. With all the negativity going around, let’s do something positive!”
Canyon All-County softball pitcher Kylee Magee shared on her Instagram stories a quote from UCLA softball’s Aaliyah Jordan posted to the Pac-12 Conference social media account.
“My blackness is not a joke and not something that will be ignored. If you can’t see that then there’s a problem,” the quote read.
Numerous Orange County athletes, including New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (San Clemente), posted black screens to their Instagram accounts Tuesday as part of #BlackOutTuesday, a social media trend and sign of solidarity against police brutality against African Americans.
Mater Dei wide receiver and Oregon commit Kyron Ware-Hudson posted a video to his Instagram stories of a peaceful protest in front of police and a quote from Colorado Rockies baseball player Ian Desmond.
“When you can’t say, ‘Black Lives Matter’ … To me, that’s you saying my life doesn’t matter. That’s what I hear and I can’t change that,” the quote from Desmond read.