By Adam Stites/Garden Grove Journal
Orangewood Academy’s girl’s basketball team had the best season in the small high school’s history by defeating the Providence Hall Pioneers, 34-31, on Saturday, March 3 to become the school’s first-ever CIF Southern Section champion.
However, another Providence High (this one from Burbank) quickly got a form of revenge, ending the Spartans’ season just a week later on Saturday, March 10 with a 44-34 victory at Orangewood in the second round of the Division 5 regional playoffs.
“Obviously we’re proud of last week, but I think the girls failed to understand that the season continued,” said Orangewood head coach Leslie Aragon. “We’re really very disappointed right now.”
It was the Spartans that jumped out to an early 9-2 lead, not allowing Providence to hit a shot in the first seven minutes of the first quarter. Orangewood carried that lead all the way until 6:20 remaining in the third quarter when the Pioneers earned its first lead of the game.
The Spartans battled back and earned a three-point edge entering the fourth quarter, but were unable to score a single point in the fourth quarter which ultimately led to a 10 point loss. A crucial technical foul called against Orangewood captain Raquel Spencer in the fourth quarter fouled the 5’11” center out of the game and stifled the Spartans offense.
“I guess my girl got rattled because the girl, after they called a foul, still she hung on her and she pushed her off,” Aragon said. “That’s a technical foul, and she knew she had four fouls.”
Spencer finished the game with a team-leading 10 points before the technical foul that ended her game. “She’s a big part of us and a big part of our [offense],” said the other Spartans captain, Jareni Nunez. “I mean, we couldn’t help her out, we couldn’t step up.”
The loss concludes the strongest athletic season in the history of Orangewood Academy, a school that has just 80 students. Nunez, a senior, thinks that the Spartans have a chance at making a similar impact next year, though.
“They’ve got next year. They’re only losing a couple of girls, we have to pick up where we left off.”