The Fountain Valley High girls’ basketball team played its season opener on Tuesday night, eight days after some teams began playing games in the winter sports period.
The Barons also got a late start in their first game, too, falling behind by 23 points midway through the third quarter.
By the end of the contest, however, Barons coach Marianne Karp had seen everything she needed to see in her team’s first game, even if it did come in defeat.
Fountain Valley mounted a furious comeback, but visiting Santa Fe held on to beat the Barons 61-58 in a nonleague game.
“I am beyond proud of these kids,” Karp said. “The defense was tenacious. The defense brought us back, and our outside shooting was fantastic.”
JoAnna Stroud had 21 points and eight rebounds to lead the Chiefs (4-0). Alicia Portillo added 12 points, five assists and four rebounds, and Oluwatomi Oginni had eight points, five rebounds and three blocked shots.
Although the Barons emerged from the first quarter with a 13-12 lead, the Chiefs had authored the opening run of the game. That trend continued in the second and third quarters, with Santa Fe opening its advantage to 48-25.
The Barons had a handful of fouls to give, and they got aggressive on the defensive end of the floor. Fountain Valley closed the gap to 48-34 by the end of the third quarter, receiving a lift from freshman twins Audrey and Margaret Tengan, who combined for 15 points.
Sharpshooting from the beyond the arc also aided the Barons. They had seven three-pointers as a team, four of which came from Kristen Ho. The sophomore guard provided 15 points and five rebounds.
“I believe that we’re a pretty good shooting team,” Ho said. “We shot pretty well last year, but I feel like this year, we have stronger shooters.”
Megan Lai, who had 13 points, five assists, and four rebounds, converted on a corner three-pointer with 57 seconds remaining. It cut Santa Fe’s lead to 57-56.
Jaden Hill-Massarotti answered with the biggest shot of the night, a corner three-pointer off a drive and dish from Portillo with 40 seconds to go.
“Basketball is always about runs,” Karp said. “They had a big run in the first half, and we came back and we had a run back at them.
“We hit a three, they hit a three. That’s what basketball’s all about, surviving those runs that other teams have and feeling like you believe in yourself that you can do this.”
After Ho made a hook shot along the baseline, the Chiefs missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity at the free-throw line.
The Barons advanced the ball to the half-court line. Then Karp called a timeout with her team down 60-58 with seven seconds to go. Fountain Valley did not get a chance to tie or take the lead, however, as the Barons were called for a five-second violation.
Santa Fe 61, Fountain Valley 58
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Santa Fe 12 – 23 – 13 – 13 – 61
Fountain Valley 13 – 4 – 17 – 24 – 58
SF – Stroud 21, Portillo 12, Oginni 8, Hill-Massarotti 7, Saynes 4, Carillo 4, Avelar 3, Jacobo 2
3-pt. goals – Portillo 3, Oginni 2, Hill-Massarotti 1, Avelar 1, Saynes 1
Fouled out – Saynes
FV – Ho 15, Lai 13, A. Tengan 8, M. Tengan 7, Hasegawa 5, Ziegler 4, Shimizu 4, Rivera 2
3-pt. goals – Ho 4, Lai 1, A. Tengan 1, Hasegawa 1