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Vikes bang out a win

Valencia overcomes Hart’s physicality play to earn victory

Posted: January 12, 2010 10:42 p.m.
Updated: January 13, 2010 4:30 a.m.
Whether Valencia point guard Jake Kelfer hit the floor or swingman Lonnie Jackson collided with a defender in mid-air, there was little doubt how Hart planned to counter the Vikings’ offense.

However, physicality alone was not enough as Valencia capitalized on the Indians’ 13 first-half turnovers and played suffocating defense to earn a 65-47 victory over Hart on Tuesday at Valencia High School in both teams’ Foothill League opener.

“I told (the team), it’s a rough game, you’ve got to play through it,” said Vikings head coach Rocket Collins. “It’s a physical game. You’ve got to play through it. ... You have to keep your cool. You can’t worry about those things.”

Jackson finished with 24 points and five rebounds, and he was 10-of-12 from the free-throw line. The rest of the team was 11-of-20.

However, the junior did not mind Hart’s physical play.

“I’m used to that now,” Jackson said. “I just prepare myself mentally to take those hits.”

Kelfer had 14 points, including three 3-pointers, and teammate Max Sommer had eight points, including two 3-pointers and four rebounds.
Indians junior Cole Preston had 19 points and five rebounds, while Roman Delgado also finished with 19 points.

“We didn’t want Jackson to get a lot of shots,” said Indians head coach Tom Kelly. “It seemed like if we breathed on him, it was a foul.”

Valencia (14-2, 1-0) countered with lockdown defense that prevented Hart from establishing anything offensively in the first half.

After scoring the first basket of the game, the Indians (5-13, 0-1) were held scoreless until late in the first quarter as the Vikings led 13-6.

The trend continued in the second as Valencia built a 29-12 halftime lead. Brandon Bennett scored all seven of his points during the quarter, and Valencia also shot well from the free-throw line and capitalized off Hart turnovers.

“It’s team,” said Collins of the defense. “You still have to do your job, but it’s team defense.”

The Indians began to find a little bit more of an offensive rhythm in the third quarter but were matched shot-for-shot by the Vikings, who took a 51-29 lead into the final quarter.

“I think if we just hit a few shots early, it’s a different story,” Kelly said. “We just built too big of a hole.”

Hart did not relent in the fourth quarter, and behind the offensive push of Delgado, the Indians continued to attack the basket.

But the Vikings kept the door closed with shots from beyond the 3-point arc and free-throw line.

“We want to win every game, but the first game is good to get things rolling,” Jackson said.


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