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Vintage win for Canyon girls hoops

Posted: February 4, 2014 9:55 p.m.
Updated: February 4, 2014 9:55 p.m.

Canyon High's Kali Vittallo, center, dives for a ball between West Ranch defenders Nicole Thompson, left, and Karen Du, right, at Canyon High on Tuesday.

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There were some identifiable marks from Canyon girls basketball on Tuesday at Canyon High.

The effort on defense, the going after loose balls and the transition offense that have been the Cowboys calling cards over the last four seasons.

All those traits combined to lead the Cowboys to a 74-35 win over the West Ranch Wildcats in a game that was never close.

Now Canyon (22-4 overall, 6-1 Foothill League) gets a rematch with Foothill League first-place power Valencia on Friday at Canyon High.

The last meeting was a very unCanyonlike performance in which the Cowboys lost 53-27 to Valencia at Valencia.

“After we lost to Valencia last time (we realized) we weren’t pressuring the ball enough,” said Canyon center Delaney McCann. “This is way better.”

Canyon forced 16 West Ranch turnovers in the first half on Tuesday and 24 in the game.

The Cowboys led 23-9 after the first quarter and 45-15 going into halftime.

West Ranch’s Whitney Branham scored all of those 15 points.

She was 4-for-8 from the field in the first half, while her teammates combined to go 0-for-6.

Branham finished the game with 21 points.

“We didn’t play our game,” Branham said. “We didn’t play (good) defense. We turned the ball over. We got frazzled by the pressure. We didn’t run our offense like we should have.”

West Ranch’s success in the Foothill League has happened when more girls have been contributing along with Branham.

Outside of the senior guard, the offense never materialized.

That had a lot to do with Canyon pressing ballhandlers outside of Branham.

Early on, Canyon had its way inside with the Wildcats (12-11, 3-4) with McCann and Monica Friedl scoring often in the paint.

McCann scored 13 of her 19 points in the first half and Friedl scored eight of her 12 points before halftime.

Canyon point guard Kali Vittallo hit four 3-pointers in the game, scored 19 points and drove the offense.

Nine players scored for Canyon.

“I think the girls are getting it more,” said Canyon head coach Chuck Johns. “They realize they have to be more aggressive, play with energy and confidence.”

Canyon will likely have to beat Valencia on Friday to have a shot at its fifth straight Foothill title.

Johns said his players know what’s at stake.

“That’s the standard we set,” he said. “They don’t want to be the ones who let that standard go.”

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