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Troy girls basketball tops Sonora, likely saves its state-record streak of league titles

FULLERTON — This might be a time when people have to accept big changes in their lives, but don’t tell the Troy girls basketball team that.

After losing to Sonora at the start of Freeway League play, the Warriors knew they were in danger of seeing their state-record streak of consecutive league titles — currently at 28 — come to an end.

The Warriors made it clear Friday night they aren’t ready to let that happen, as they won the league rematch with the Raiders 48-39 at Troy High.

Bella Pearson had a game-high 18 points for Troy, and Endigo Parker (six blocks) was an important defensive presence.

Troy now is in a good position to extend the title streak to 29. The Warriors (11-7 overall) and Raiders (11-4) are both 5-1 in league with four league games remaining against opponents both teams have defeated easily this season. Most likely, they will end up sharing the title.

“I’m just proud of the way the girls competed,” Troy coach Roger Anderson said. “They’re representing 28 years before them.”

“Bella (Pearson) played really strong offensively and led us,” he added. “Endigo (Parker), she’s a force and defensively she’s a force and when she gets aggressive, she’s hard to stop.”

The Warriors trailed 10-9 after the first quarter, but they used a 13-2 scoring run in the second period for a 10-point halftime advantage, 22-12.

“I thought they were able to take advantage of their strength tonight,” Sonora coach Melissa Barajas said. “They did a really good job getting Endigo the ball deep on the block, and they also did a good job of disrupting us on offense.”

Parker finished with 10 points.

Troy was helped at key moments by Jamie Choi and Aliyah Gonzalez in the second period, while Parker challenged each Raider that came into the paint.

The Warriors’ defensive intensity was a factor throughout the game, but especially in the second quarter.

Pearson began the contest 0 for 3 shooting, but started to heat up late in the second quarter. She had five points in the period, including a corner 3-pointer right before halftime.

Haylie Dermer did her best to keep Sonora in the game with a team-high 16 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.

Sonora’s Alyssa Ke was held scoreless in the first half but finished with 11 points, hitting three shots from beyond the arc.

Jazmin Sheikh, who had 13 points for Sonora in its win over Troy on April 21, was held scoreless.

The Raiders closed the gap in the third quarter to six points, 31-25, when Ke drilled a 3-pointer, but Pearson responded with a 3 of her own and Kaitlyn Osako’s buzzer-beater, 3-point shot gave the Warriors a 39-28 lead entering the fourth.

The victory, while important to the Warriors’ league title hopes, wasn’t the best news Anderson received in recent days. He was able to bring his wife, Trudy, home after she spent months in the hospital and going through rehabilitation after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke on Feb. 10.

She nearly lost her life, and due to the restrictions that are in place because of the coronavirus pandemic, Anderson wasn’t able to see her while she was recovering.

Anderson said he leaned on his Troy family during the difficult times.

“The beautiful thing about my team is we are family,” he said, “and they’re like a bunch of daughters that watch out for me and hold me up as I get through this. It’s really special.”

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