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Front-Runner Finally Revealed

Posted: January 27, 2008 5:19 a.m.
Updated: March 29, 2008 2:01 a.m.
 
The target is big and it's not red anymore, it's purple.

It's the target Valencia boys basketball has on its back after a 68-60 victory over Saugus Friday night.
Now, all the Vikings have to do is win their final four games and they will be crowned Foothill League champions.
All they have to do is a terrible phrase, though.
Ask the 2005-06 Vikings.
All they had to do was win one of their final two games and the title was theirs.
Instead, Valencia lost both games and Canyon was crowned champions.
By many accounts, they should win league.
Some have called the Vikings the most talented team in the Foothill League.
But winning the final four will be a rough task.
Valencia plays its final four games on the road with the first being a huge rematch against Hart - the team it defeated 82-55 on Jan. 11.
It should also be the league's most intriguing game the rest of the way.
Hart imploded in that game as the team committed intentional fouls and was whistled for technical fouls.
There was definitely tension between the two teams throughout.
Not this time around said Hart head coach Tom Kelly.
"We were just acting like idiots because we were frustrated that they were kicking our butts," Kelly said. "We need to play from the beginning.
"We just got to make sure we play hard and smart from the beginning."
The Vikings have now defeated all the teams in league after the win over Saugus.
Saugus opened up the season with a 70-63 win over Valencia Jan. 8.
The difference this time around was the Vikings had point guard Terrez Scott in the lineup.
But Valencia's John Otavka was another big difference.
The shooting guard went off in the fourth quarter, scoring 16 of his 27 points in the frame.
"And he was very patient," said Valencia head coach Rocket Collins. "I told him before the season, 'Everybody knows who you are. You're going to be held, grabbed, double-teamed, triple-teamed. Just be patient."
Saugus actually led 41-40 going into the fourth quarter.
Hart led throughout its game with Golden Valley - really big at one point (24 points).
But Golden Valley mounted a huge comeback, cutting the Indians' lead to seven in the fourth quarter.
The Indians still prevailed 65-56.
Due to a leak in the West Ranch High gymnasium, the Wildcats game against Canyon was postponed to Feb. 6 as was the girls game.
Interestingly, the sides of the Golden Valley High gym had water spots on it as well.
Both schools have been open for only four years.
Girls Hoops
It might be panic mode at Saugus High.
Coming into this week, the Centurions were undefeated in league play and in first place.
Two losses later, the latest being a 56-50 setback to Valencia Friday, the Cents are now tied with the Vikings in second place.
Worse, Saugus' go-to-girl Lauren Labat suffered a high ankle sprain in the game - the kind of injury that lingers.
Valencia, though, is in a very interesting position.
Should the Vikings win out, they will at least share the league crown. They rematch with Hart on Tuesday.
In the first matchup, Valencia won 62-58 in overtime.
After Friday's win, the Vikings may be rejuvenated, too.
"It was awesome. This is a lot of confidence for them," said head coach Jerry Mike. "It says we're right in the hunt, right up there with Hart and right up there with Saugus."
Hart couldn't get the knockout punch against Golden Valley, so you might call the Indians' 52-47 Friday victory a split decision.
cosborne@the-signal.com
Signal staff writer Andrew Barlam contributed to this story.


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