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SCV hoops fly high

Posted: March 15, 2010 10:32 p.m.
Updated: March 16, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Canyon forward Kayla Michel (33) rises to take a shot as Hart's Brittany Costanzo tries to block it during the SCV Hoops Finale Saturday night at Golden Valley High School.

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I didn’t even see it.

I heard it though.

Standing in the foyer of Golden Valley High’s gymnasium on Saturday night, I saw the crowd erupt.

Everyone got out of their seats — standing, jumping and even screaming.

Golden Valley star Trevor Wiseman walked to his bench, a huge grin on his face.

In a moment, a new star was born and the play became the dunk heard ‘round the Santa Clarita Valley.

During the opening moments of LETMESAIL and The Signal’s SCV Hoops Finale’s boys basketball game, Saugus guard Jawhar Purdy threw an alley-oop to Santa Clarita Christian’s Davion Cotterell, who then threw a two-handed dunk down over the 6-foot-8-inch Wiseman, the Foothill League’s co-Player of the Year.

It was the perfect moment for the night.

Wiseman took it with humor.

A kid who had flown under the radar for far too long was now center stage.

Everyone — the players, volunteers and fans loved it.

The event was organized as a benefit for LETMESAIL, a locally based charity that provides social, recreational and educational activities for teenagers and adults with disabilities in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Whether the kids understood it or not, they were volunteering to help the charity.

So many people gave on Saturday night, including Santa Clarita Valley coaches, referees, Golden Valley High and LETMESAIL’s small army of volunteers.

The event itself was more than we could have imagined.

There were some nervous moments before the girls game as there were some no-shows, which then made it a six-on-nine game.

But it turned out to be the game of the night as West Ranch-Saugus-Hart defeated Canyon-Valencia-Vasquez 48-45.

To have had Vasquez of Acton in the game made it even more special.

We told the story last month of the struggles that the Vasquez High girls basketball program has had recently.

In five previous seasons, Vasquez won just six games.

But the breakthrough came this season when Tim Taufaasau, a former Golden Valley JV head coach, took over.

Vasquez won nine games and made its first ever appearance in the CIF postseason.

Due to Golden Valley’s girls teams not having any seniors (the event was for senior players only) and Santa Clarita Christian’s seniors having scheduling conflicts, the door opened for Vasquez.

Vasquez seniors McKenna Garrick and Jessica Bennett fit right in and played very well, despite Vasquez being at a much lower level of basketball compared to the Foothill League.

On the girls side, a reluctant Erin Ruiz had the biggest night.

Before the game started, West Ranch’s Ruiz was timid about the 3-point competition at halftime. Then, she and Saugus’ Kaylynn Martin shot the lights out.

Ruiz took the 3-point competition and then the Most Valuable Player award for the girls game.

On the boys’ side, Cotterell provided the prelude to the slam-dunk contest.

Then he went out and threw down some jaw-dropping jams at halftime.

Cotterell has been far overshadowed by the Foothill League’s players, having played at Santa Clarita Christian, which like Vasquez plays at a lower level.

But we wanted Cotterell in this game because we would then find out how he would fare playing with better competition.

He did better than fine.

He belonged and then more.

Yet even he was overshadowed, for a moment at least.

Golden Valley head coach Chris Printz told me a couple of weeks ago that Brandon Hale was a spectacular dunker.

Hale proved that on the big stage on Saturday.

Before the game, when we selected dunkers, 5-foot-6-inch guard Kris Quant was disappointed that there would be no boys’ 3-point contest.

He would have won it anyway.

But Hale made use of him.

It was purely impromptu.

Hale, maybe 6 feet tall, if that, directed Quant to the free throw line. He had Quant get a little closer to basket.

The crowd rose in anticipation.

Then Hale took off, skied over Quant and threw down the second dunk heard ‘round the Santa Clarita Valley.

The crowd went nuts.

We couldn’t ask for anything more.

One Foothill League coach said he’d seen the other three senior all-star basketball games out here that preceded this one.

“This was the best,” he said.

And then the statement came out from a handful of people — “We can’t wait for next year.”

It’ll be hard to top.

Hear that, class of 2011?

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