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Physical play highlights girls SCV Hoops Finale

Posted: March 29, 2014 10:45 p.m.
Updated: March 29, 2014 10:45 p.m.

Canyon's Monica Friedl, right, fights for the ball with West Ranch's Chantal Wahba during the SCV Hoops Finale girls game. Friedl was named MVP.

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Call it an exhibition game all you want.

Players in Saturday night’s SCV Hoops Finale senior all-star girls basketball game competed just as hard as ever.

In a physical, uptempo game, the team in dark jerseys (Canyon, Golden Valley, Saugus and Trinity Classical Academy players) beat the white jerseys (Valencia and West Ranch) 61-52 at West Ranch High School.

Canyon’s Monica Friedl earned MVP honors after scoring a game-high 20 points and putting up a strong defensive effort against Valencia’s talented frontcourt.

Friedl and her Canyon teammates got the last word against a Valencia team that shared a Foothill League title with it this season.

“That was the best part,” Friedl said of beating a rival team.

In all, Friedl drained four 3-pointers and also did plenty of scoring, defending and rebounding in the paint.

“It could be a pick-up game and we’re going to go hard like it’s a championship,” said West Ranch’s Whitney Branham, who also scored 20 points.

She was aided by her sharp-shooting teammate Kali Vittallo and her 14 points along with Saugus’ Justice Bennett, who also scored 14 points.

“It was fun to watch our kids acclimate to the other kids,” said dark team head coach Chuck Johns, who resigned earlier this month after five successful seasons as Canyon’s girls basketball coach.

“It feels so good,” Friedl said. “I was so excited to have my coach, just my high school coach, for one more game.”

For the Valencia/West Ranch team, Branham made four 3-pointers to score most of her points.

Branham made several more threes at halftime on her way to winning the three-point contest. She beat out Vittallo in the final round by making 13 triples in 45 seconds. That bested Vittallo’s mark of 11.

“It was my home gym so I’m confident shooting in the middle,” Branham said. “That’s my spot.”

Fellow West Ranch Wildcat Jasmine Hayes scored 11 points and Valencia’s Paige Nealy added 10 points, but the team donning white jerseys were behind nearly the entire game.

Valencia’s Sandra Ikeora had the defensive play of the game when she blocked the shot of Golden Valley’ Mariah Madison out of bounds late in the second quarter. The block created a loud thud.

The dark jerseys shared the ball and played tough defense throughout.

A 14-5 scoring run to end the first quarter gave the dark jerseys an 18-9 lead. The white jerseys could never close the gap from there.

“We didn’t practice, we didn’t teach any plays. You just go out and try to have some good basketball knowledge and have fun,” said Allison Moore, head coach of the white jerseys.

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