January 12, 2023
In an OC Girls Top 25 Coaches Poll matchup on Thursday night at Fairmont Prep, #14 Orangewood Academy outlasted #10 Fairmont Prep 66-61 in an intense, well-played San Joaquin League showdown. Orangewood Academy entered Thursday’s game with an overall record of 14-3 after defeating #18 Pacifica Christian 59-47 to open league. Ranked #5 in CIF Division 2AA, Fairmont Prep had won four games in a row, including wins over #20 Santa Margarita, St. Anthony, and La Costa Canyon.
Fairmont Prep took a 7-0 lead to start the game and would lead 18-14 in a fast-paced first quarter. The Spartans would respond in the 2nd, outsourcing the Huskies 18-13, and take a 32-31 lead into the half. Maria Mejia finished the half with 11 for Orangewood Academy while Alissa Belen hit three 3’s for the Spartans. Fairmont Prep was led by Jazzy Mercado’s 10 points.
Orangewood Academy would hit back-to-back 3’s midway through the 3rd to take a 43-35 lead but the Huskies would battle back and trail 48-45 after the steal and beautiful assist by Siyanda Salters to Jaila Pineda to end the quarter. Fairmont Prep would take a 56-54 lead late in the 4th but the Spartans would respond with three 3’s in a row by Freshman Emalynn Vong, Junior Jamaica Cheatham, and Sophomore Alissa Belen to take a 63-56 lead with 1:19 left in the game. Orangewood Academy improved to 15-3 and 2-0 in the San Joaquin League with the win and faces Capistrano Valley Christian on Saturday night.
Leading Scorers and Player Evaluations
Maria Mejia (22): Extremely passionate player who can score on all 3 levels. Plays under control, does not force it and has the ability to create her own shot.
Alissa Belen (12): Sophomore guard who is a knockdown shooter and hit 4 3’s.
Jamaica Cheatham (10): Tough, physical player that has college range from 3 with a quick high release.
Siyanda Salters (16): Impressive post player who has great footwork and controls the paint. Has the ability to attack from the perimeter as well.
Jazzy Mercado (15): Tough, skilled guard who possesses a high IQ. Can knock it down from 3 and also finish strong at the rim in traffic.