May 25, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Santa Ana makes history defeating Estancia to earn first trip to CIF finals

Santa Ana players and coaches celebrate after Wednesday’s victory over Estancia. (Photos courtesy Mark Bausman, For OC Sports Zone).

Santa Ana High School’s girls basketball players had a lot to celebrate Wednesday night.

The Saints earned the first trip to the CIF finals for girls basketball in school history defeating Orange Coast League rival Estancia 39-37 in the CIF 5A semifinals at Santa Ana.

Santa Ana (16-16) earned a trip to Saturday’s championship game to face Price of Los Angeles in Los Angeles. Price defeated Workman 60-41 in the other semifinal.

“First time in the finals, I believe in school history,” said Santa Ana Coach Tony Jarjoura. “I’m very, very happy to be a part of it. We have an incredible group of girls. In my first year, I remember telling them, ‘I want a banner and we’re here for championships.’ Hopefully Saturday, we can prove that. I’m very excited.”

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

The Saints rallied from a five-point deficit after the third quarter with a 9-0 run to start the fourth quarter and held on for the win. Estancia’s Elizabeth Sanchez made a 3-pointer with three seconds left to cut the lead to two, but Santa Ana was able to inbounds the pass and run out the clock to win its second of three meetings with Estancia this year.

“We got down by five in the third and were never giving up,” said Jarjoura. “That’s something I tell them every single day is keep fighting, keep fighting. I told them if they wanted it, it was their’s and they came out and did it.

“It’s been a long season, we’ve faced a lot of adversity so it was nice to take back what was their’s.”

Santa Ana was led by Janessa Roa, who had 17 points; Yarexy Diaz, who had eight points and Lucy Medina, who had seven points and provided a big lift with her hustle and energy.

Roa scored nine points in the second quarter to help the Saints move out to a 20-19 halftime lead.

“Honestly, it was a really good victory, coming out and not playing our best and trying to find the groove into our shots, it was a struggle,” said Roa. “But being able to talk to our team and just really settle down and take a breather, I feel it really helped in the end.

“Honestly, that’s a great accomplishment (reaching the finals), especially coming out of the pandemic and getting back to in-person school and with a new team it was a really big challenge to again get the hang of things and I feel like it’s something that was meant to happen to us and we’re just giving it our all and playing with our hearts.”

Estancia (15-13) was led by MacKenzie Sanchez who had 11 points and Elizabeth Sanchez, who had eight points.

“They were fairly evenly matches teams,” said Estancia Coach Judd Fryslie. “Unfortunately we didn’t rebound very well. We’re so little, we really have to work to get our share of rebounds. We had them there and the foul trouble of course was big. Without MacKenzie Sanchez (who fouled out late) on the court, everything else falls apart.”

Estancia, like Santa Ana, will also be in the state tournament which begins next week.

“We will, but I’m sure we will be traveling,” Fryslie said.

For more on Santa Ana girls basketball, click here:

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