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The Day After Hoops: First day was learning experience

Posted: January 15, 2014 10:56 p.m.
Updated: January 15, 2014 10:56 p.m.

Hart's Chase White fights off a pair of West Ranch defenders on Tuesday night at West Ranch High.

 

Coaches and players cautioned against making too much out of a single league win.

So what can we surmise based from Tuesday’s boys and girls basketball Foothill League opening games?

Perhaps the most telling result was the Hart girls beating West Ranch 64-45.

For a Hart team that hasn’t won more than three league games in a season since going 8-2 in 2008, this win is significant.

For the Indians (9-8 overall, 1-0 Foothill League), the victory ended a losing streak against the Wildcats (9-8, 0-1) dating back to 2009. Maybe more streaks will fall as the year goes on.

As for the losing team, first-year West Ranch head coach Allison Moore said she’s not panicking after a disappointing start to the Foothill season.

“It seemed like Hart came out and was prepared and ran their stuff effectively,” Moore said. “At times it seemed as if they outhustled our girls. And I think more than anything, now that the sting has settled in, our girls realize that they don’t want this to be the scene for the rest of league.”

The other big winner in girls basketball on Tuesday was Valencia, which pulled away late in a 69-47 victory over Saugus.

The Vikings (11-6, 1-0) weathered a strong start from Saugus and turned a close game at halftime into a lopsided win after limiting the Centurions (9-8, 0-1) to 17 second-half points.

“We just did a couple things in our zone and changed up and held them to 17 and it was good,” said Valencia head coach Jerry Mike. “We had a great third quarter and I thought all nine girls contributed nicely.”

Four Valencia players scored in double figures — Sandra Ikeora, Ashlee Ane, Sabrina Thompson and Kayla Konrad.

Rounding out the girls side, Canyon held serve in a 55-33 home win over Golden Valley (11-5, 0-1).

Now at 16-3, four-time defending league champion Canyon remains the league’s frontrunner until otherwise proven.

Tuesday’s big winner in boys basketball was Hart, without question.

Hart improved to 12-1 with its 73-68 win over a defending league champion West Ranch. The Indians beat a talented West Ranch team playing in front of an energetic home crowd.

Senior guard Lewis Stallworth was big for Hart down the stretch, but the defense of Davis Koppenhaver was also key in neutralizing West Ranch.

This win effectively gives Hart the early upper hand in league.

Canyon, coming off a solid 68-33 win over Golden Valley (7-8, 0-1), will get the same test on Friday when it travels to face West Ranch (6-9, 0-1).

The Cowboys are 17-1, but Friday’s game may provide one of their most difficult matchups yet.

Another team that made its presence known on Tuesday was Valencia, which mostly dominated Saugus in an 88-65 win.

Valencia (13-4, 1-0) used aggressive defense and hand checking to disrupt Saugus (9-10, 0-1) and run away in a game that started relatively even.

Afterward, Saugus head coach Derek Ballard said, “We worked the crap out and we can get better now, but this is pretty sad — a pretty sad effort.”

On the positive side for the Centurions, they outrebounded the Vikings 39-34 and Saugus point guard Jacob Tobon displayed his athleticism and play-making ability with a 21-point performance.

Saugus will play at Hart on Friday and Valencia plays on the road against Golden Valley. The same matchups on the girls side will precede those games.

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