June 25, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Home team holds on for victory in first game of Santa Ana Prep Classic

Home team’s Kalleigh Solis of Santa Ana drives to the hoop as the away team’s Oilicec Fernandez of Santa Ana Valley defends during the second half. (Photos: Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone).

Game one of the Santa Ana Prep Basketball Showcase went down to the wire but the home team held on for a 39-36 victory over the visitors Friday night in a game featuring the top high school seniors from basketball programs in Santa Ana Unified School District at Godinez.

The event was run by the Raya Foundation and Godinez with girls divided into the away and home squads.

To see the slide show, click on the first photo:

The home team built up a 33-23 lead in the third quarter before the away squad battled back cutting the lead to six points on a 3-pointer by Olicec Fernandez (Santa Ana Valley) with 2:18 left in the game.

Trailing by four, the away team recorded a steal but couldn’t convert at the other end with about a minute remaining.

Valeria Quero (Segerstrom) sank a free throw in the final seconds for the home team to clinch the victory.

Kalleigh Solis (Santa Ana) led the home team with 21 points. Santa Ana teammate Yarexy Diaz added nine points. Tayla Paepule and Fernandez from Santa Ana Valley each had 11 points for the away team.

Coaches and players seemed to enjoy the event.

“I think it was a very fun game with all the girls on the other schools and we really bonded,” said Solis, who helped the Saints reach the CIF playoffs this season. “It takes a lot of practice every single day in the gym and some (shots) were falling and some weren’t, but to always keep shooting was my mentality today.”

As for her future plans:

“I want to play in college, probably a community college, but the goal is to always move up and play for a higher level.”

The home team coach Shonyta Pouncey from Segerstrom was thrilled with the final outcome.

“I was excited for the first time being an all-star coach for sure” he said. “It’s an honor and a blessing, these things are so valuable because most people don’t get them. My son texted me from Minnesota today and said, ‘you’ve been a football all-star coach and now a basketball all-star coach,’ most people only get one in a lifetime.

“It’s a very big honor to be a part of this whole thing and the Raya Foundation, it was great to have all of our seniors playing in this game, a couple last year and some this year. We made sure that everyone got in. I’m blessed to have this opportunity.”

Pouncey was impressed with the play of Solis.

“Huge game. The kid is a player, for somebody who doesn’t look the part, she can do it and I’m proud of her,” Pouncey said. “I told her, ‘you’re probably player of the game but you got four fouls I got to get you out and I’ll play you in the end,’ and of course we had the ball in her hands in the end. It was stressful in the end, but we held on.”


—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com