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Vikings can’t find answer

Lancaster holds Valencia standout down the stretch at Canyon Classic

Posted: December 12, 2009 10:36 p.m.
Updated: December 13, 2009 4:30 a.m.

Valencia's Lonnie Jackson (20) drives to the basket against Lancaster's Akeem Nicholas (2) at the Canyon Classic at Canyon High on Saturday. Jackson scored 26 points in the Vikings' 61-58 loss.

 

Trailing with a minute left, Valencia turned once again to Lonnie Jackson.

But on a rare off-night for the junior swingman, who was unable to connect on two game-tying 3-pointers in the final 30 seconds, and after a first half riddled with mistakes, Lancaster notched a 61-58 win Saturday at Canyon High in the Canyon Classic.

The Vikings (5-2) have relied heavily on the talented Jackson in their young season, and he has proven to be willing and able to oblige.

But the Eagles (4-1) were watching as the junior torched Grant for 38 points on Tuesday.

Lancaster’s athletic backcourt was determined to make things more difficult.

“We tried to cover him hard the whole game,” said Lancaster head coach Sid Melvin. “(Jackson) is a prolific scorer and he’s dangerous if he’s left unchecked. We had to make him earn his points.”

Jackson went 4-of-14 in the first half and was limited to difficult looks, but still managed to finish the game with 26 points. He got most of his work done at the free-throw line and rarely moved on the court without heavy accompaniment from the Eagles.

Outsized and outgunned, his Viking teammates didn’t have any answers either.

Despite the pressure, Jackson finished the first half with 14 points, two more than the rest of his teammates combined, and the Vikings trailed 33-26.

Valencia co-head coach Rocket Collins said he thought the team’s late finish the night before probably played a role in the Vikings slow start, but they were also disappointed when they found out they weren’t playing for a championship.

A slight change in the scheduling, due to a blackout last night in the Canyon gymnasium, cancelled the championship game.

Canyon was scheduled to play the winner of Friday’s Paraclete-Valencia matchup for the championship. When Canyon High’s gym went dark at 11:30 p.m. with Valencia ahead 36-29, the title game of the Canyon Classic was cancelled, and Lancaster played Valencia. Canyon played Paraclete in the 7 p.m. game.

But Collins wasn’t ready to use a lack of motivation as an excuse. He was more frustrated by the team’s lack of intensity at times on defense.

“We were good at times,” Collins said. “But it wasn’t good enough.”

The Vikings trailed the entire contest, but came close to tying it up at several points.

Jackson hit a pair of 3-pointers to bring Valencia within two points with two minutes left in the third quarter. On the next possession, Viking guard Jake Telfer hit Jackson with a perfect pass on a fast break.

Jackson initiated contact on a fast-break layup and was called for an offensive foul. It was typical of the night for Valencia.

Lancaster kept driving to the basket and put the Vikings into foul trouble midway through the fourth quarter.

Eagle guard Joshua Blaylock, who led his team with 14 points, hit a late layup to seal the win after a pair of free throws by Vikings forward Brennan Bernardino brought his team within one.

 

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