No. 19 girls basketball secures 2nd place in Freeway League after 56-37 win over Fullerton


Guard senior Annika Johnson (right) attempts to shoot a freethrow during the game against Fullerton on Feb. 4 at the Sunny Hills High School gym. Photo taken by Accolade photographer Brianna Zafra

Elijah Jhee, Managing Editor

Riding high on a four-game winning streak, the No. 19 Sunny Hills girls basketball team beat Fullerton High School 56-37 in a home game Feb. 4, guaranteeing that the Lady Lancers will hold lone possession of second place in the Freeway League.

“I think this win was huge for our girls and our program,” head coach Jae Byun said. “We haven’t placed second place in almost 15 years.”

Guards senior Annika Johnson and sophomore Jessica Kim dominated the first half with both players scoring a combined 26 points in the first two quarters and guiding the Lady Lancers (20-7, 7-2 Freeway League) to a 33-16 lead at halftime over the Indians (5-17, 0-9 Freeway League). 

The Lady Lancers’ effective plays on both ends of the court were seen by guard senior Jaidyn Decastro’s 10 assists as well as forward senior Anna Sander’s seven rebounds. Kim’s eight three-pointers also carried the team to an overwhelming victory.

Since this was the girls’ last home game of the season, the team also celebrated its Senior Night with its four players. Johnson, who contributed 12 points against the Indians, felt particularly excited about the team’s future in the playoffs.

“It feels so amazing to grab a win on Senior Night, especially because tonight was our team’s 20th win,” she said. “I think that if we play to our peak level, I think we can go really far in the playoffs.”

Alongside Johnson, Kim led the Lancers with 28 points.

“It feels great [to win], especially for our seniors,” Kim said. “For me being a sophomore and being so young, just taking that victory for them feels amazing.”

Byun also expressed his gratitude toward his seniors, emphasizing their hard work and commitment to basketball the past four years. 

“I’m proud of my four seniors because they’ve worked through our program and paid their dues,” he said. “Our team is really happy for them to have this night and get away with a win.”

As the basketball season comes to an end, the Lancers will head into the playoffs ranked No.12 in the CIF-Southern Section Division 2A poll. The team secured an automatic playoff berth after its Jan. 31 win over La Habra High School (9-16, 3-6 Freeway League). 

“I believe that we can really go far in CIF,” Kim said. “I really think that we’re a great team as long as we work together.”

Byun, just like his players, anticipates competing in the playoffs and battling for a CIF-SS title. 

“I think anyone who gets an opportunity to play in the playoffs should be excited,” he said.  “We’re going to take it one game at a time and see how far we go.”