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Vikings boys basketball returns to winning ways

McCowan scores 20 points for the Vikings

Posted: January 31, 2014 10:41 p.m.
Updated: January 31, 2014 10:41 p.m.
 

After winning its first three Foothill League games, the Valencia Vikings suffered back-to-back losses to end the first half of the league season.

A blowout loss on their home court to Hart, followed by a last-second loss at West Ranch left the Vikings eager to get back to its winning ways.

And now they finally have.

Behind a scoring outburst in the third quarter and defensive intensity throughout, the Vikings defeated the Saugus Centurions 62-42 Friday at Valencia High.

“We still had to believe in ourselves to get this win,” said Valencia junior guard Malik McCowan on the importance of ending the losing streak. “We wanted to just come out and play hard as a team like we know we can.”

Leading 26-20 at halftime, the Vikings (16-6 overall, 4-2 Foothill) broke away to begin the third quarter. They started the period on a 19-6 run.

Angel Cardenas hit three 3-pointers during the stretch, which prompted a 49-30 lead after the third quarter.

Valencia’s intensity on defense also contributed to the victory, as it forced the Centurions (9-15, 0-6) into committing 24 turnovers in the game.

“You won’t win any basketball game with 24 turnovers,” said Saugus head coach Derek Ballard. “Other than that, our guys fought. They just got to learn how to take care of the ball better.”

The Vikings limited the Centurions to 5-for-24 shooting in the second half.

“We played defense pretty well in the first half. Let’s do the same thing and a little bit better in the second half,” said Valencia head coach Rocket Collins on his message to his team at halftime.

McCowan scored a game-high 20 points, as he shot 7-for-15 from the field and 6-for-7 from the free throw line.

Cardenas finished with 12 points, while Dakota Abbott chipped in with nine points.

Jacob Tobon led Saugus with 18 points.

But no other Centurion added more than six.

As Foothill League play continues on Tuesday, Valencia will take on Golden Valley at home, while Saugus will host Hart.

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