Sports

Sonora basketball teams execute well, push past Fullerton

Sonora head coach Mike Murphy poses with his coaching staff and the varsity team after being presented with the game ball from his 500th win, which occurred Wednesday night.
Sonora head coach Mike Murphy poses with his coaching staff and the varsity team after being presented with the game ball from his 500th win, which occurred Wednesday night. Photos by Erik Markus, La Habra Journal

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

Coming off of Wednesday’s milestone victory, the Sonora boys’ basketball team pushed the pace and never let up in an 83-52 league win over Fullerton at home, Friday night.

Before the game, the team presented Sonora Head Coach Mike Murphy with the game ball from Wednesday’s game with “500” written to commemorate his milestone win.

On the court, the Raiders started the game on a 9-0 run and never looked back as Josh Rodriguez and Ben Rico scored 21 points each. Steven Murphy set the tone early and finished with 16 points.

“We have so many guards that can score, Steven sometimes gets overlooked,” Mike Murphy said. “We wanted to establish him and he did a great job for us early on.”

Adam Marlow intercepts a Fullerton pass and drives toward the basket. He would make a layup on the play during the second quarter of Sonora's 83-52 win, Friday night.
Adam Marlow intercepts a Fullerton pass and drives toward the basket. He would make a layup on the play during the second quarter of Sonora’s 83-52 win, Friday night.

Sonora’s defense caused 14 turnovers, most of which were converted into points on the offensive end. The Raiders built a double-digit lead by the second quarter and held it the rest of the way.

Rico’s scoring was consistent for Sonora, he scored five points or more in every quarter. Rodriguez was limited in the first quarter due to foul trouble, but put in six points in the second quarter and seven points in the fourth quarter.

However, early on the Indians (6-13, 0-2) were so focused on Sonora’s dangerous guards that they forgot about big Steven Murphy in the paint.

The senior center scored eight points in the first quarter, all on easy shots after setting screens on the perimeter.

Taking an inside pass from Rico, Murphy rose for a strong two-handed dunk that prompted a timeout from Fullerton coach Scott Wilbur.

“We basically wanted to spread everyone out and then run a pick-and-roll,” Steven Murphy said. “I usually help with rebounding, so it felt good to help get things going early. We have so much talent on the team, anyone is capable of scoring. Early on, it just happened to be me.”

Josh Rodriguez hit this layup as the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter during Sonora's 83-52 win over Fullerton. Rodriguez was fouled on the play and made the ensuing free throw.
Josh Rodriguez hit this layup as the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter during Sonora’s 83-52 win over Fullerton. Rodriguez was fouled on the play and made the ensuing free throw.

The Raiders (16-3, 2-0) got balanced scoring from Rico, Rodriguez and Adam Marlow in the second quarter, but Fullerton’s Andre Quinn ended the half with a flurry for Fullerton. Sonora led 39-25 at the break.

Consecutive baskets by Fullerton’s Gerritt Beetstra brought Sonora’s lead down to 11 points late in the third quarter.

But the Raiders responded with a 3-pointer from Rico, forced a turnover and Rodriguez raced down the court for a buzzer-beating layup in which he was fouled.

Sonora added the first six points of the fourth quarter for a 12-point run.

“That run was huge for us, I thought it may have put the game out of reach,” Mike Murphy said. “Our team is good offensively, they just keep finding ways to score.”

After seven points by Rodriguez and five by Rico, Sonora rode out the rest of the fourth quarter using reserves.

Quinn led the Indians with 17 points and guard Gerardo Arellano added 10 points in the loss.

Sonora hits the road for the first time in league play when they play Buena Park, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

“Any time you face a league opponent on the road, it’s tough,” Mike Murphy said. “It all starts with our defense, we want these guys to keep up the pressure and let the offense be a result of our defense.”

Meghann Henderson puts in a layup for two of her 24 points during the first half of Sonora's 58-35 win over Fullerton, Friday night.
Meghann Henderson puts in a layup for two of her 24 points during the first half of Sonora’s 58-35 win over Fullerton, Friday night.

GIRLS VARSITY

After two tough games against quality opponents, the Sonora girls’ basketball team flexed a little muscle in a 58-35 league win over Fullerton, Friday night at Sonora High.

The Lady Raiders’ aggressive defense accounted for seven turnovers in the first quarter and Sonora opened a 20-6 lead.

Head Coach Melissa Barajas believes that coming off tough games against Woodbridge and Troy helped to prepare for the rest of the Freeway League.

“We’ve played a tough schedule, so makes them grow up a little bit, but we wanted it that way so they were ready for league,” Barajas said. “Tonight was a great learning experience for our girls, we were able to keep a lead and build on it. I really liked our pressure and offensively, they did the things we were looking for, it was great.”

Meghann Henderson was aggressive on the offensive end and finished with 24 points to lead the Lady Raiders. Lauren Nakahara scored eight of her 11 points in the first quarter and was on the bench for the majority of the fourth quarter to rest her ankle.

Henderson did the bulk of her damage in the second quarter, where she scored 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.

Sonora's Sarah Ornelas splits four defenders and attempts a shot during the first half of Sonora's 58-35 victory, Friday night.
Sonora’s Sarah Ornelas splits four defenders and attempts a shot during the first half of Sonora’s 58-35 victory, Friday night.

Sonora (8-9, 1-1) led 38-11 at halftime.

“We’ve been trying to get her to be aggressive,” Barajas said about Henderson. “Coming in as a freshman, sometimes they’re passive and want to defer to other kids, but we think she’s super talented, she has the potential to be something special, so we want her to be aggressive out there and we were happy that she was tonight.”

Fullerton’s Daisy Segura helped the Lady Indians (6-11, 0-2) keep pace with Sonora in the third quarter by scoring seven of her team-high 10 points, but Sonora pushed the lead to 18 points heading into the fourth quarter.

After five points from Henderson in the final quarter, Barajas sent in reserves to close it out.

Fullerton forward Marianne Gourd finished with 10 rebounds, eight of which came at the offensive end.

Sonora will head to Buena Park for a road game against the Coyotes, Wednesday at 6 p.m.

“Being on the road, no matter who it is, it’s tough,” Barajas said. “We’re going to need a lot of leadership from Lauren in making sure we’re staying focused. It starts with our defense, being able to pressure and just mentally executing on that side of the ball.”

Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.