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Foothill girls basketball: Big fourth boosts Vikes

Valencia is now second in the Foothill League after blowing past West Ranch

Posted: January 28, 2011 11:02 p.m.
Updated: January 28, 2011 11:02 p.m.
 

For the first three quarters, it was anyone’s game.

In the fourth quarter, Valencia girls basketball outshot, outrebounded and outplayed West Ranch.

The Vikings’ efforts helped them overcome a cold-shooting night to take a 58-38 victory over the reeling Wildcats Friday at Valencia High School.

Though it was a closer game than the final score indicated, Valencia was clearly the more composed team in a physical second half.

While West Ranch, which has lost three straight in the Foothill League, was heaving 3-pointers, Valencia fed the ball to forward Faith Anumba in the low post to pull away.

Anumba was a force in both scoring (21 points) and on the glass (13 rebounds), but she was quick to give the credit elsewhere.
“(Valencia senior Lauren) Spargo was definitely a factor in that,” Anumba said of the Vikings’ runaway. “She started making shots and coming alive at the end.”

After an uncharacteristic 0-of-7 shooting performance in the first half, Spargo scored all 10 of her points after the break.

Friday was a redeeming game for Valencia (17-6, 4-2), which lost to West Ranch in the teams’ first meeting two weeks ago.

In that game, it was a series of ill-advised passes and a total of 23 turnovers that cost the Vikings. This time, the turnovers were limited to 10.

“We’re starting to play more team ball,” said Valencia head coach Jerry Mike. “We’re moving the ball a lot better.”

For West Ranch (14-7, 3-3), it was a disappointing finish to a game the Wildcats desperately needed.

“This is by far the roughest patch we’ve been through this season,” said West Ranch head coach Randy Smith. “And it’s coming at the worst possible time.”

In the first half, neither team shot particularly well, but Michele Arima and Alexus Bryant made just enough shots from beyond the arc to keep it close.

The Vikings took a 16-7 lead early in the second quarter, only to watch it disappear on a 10-1 Wildcats run to close the half.

It was capped off by a buzzer-beating three from Whitney Branham, which tied it at 17-17 at the break.

But Valencia kept playing the 2-3 zone and keyed in on Arima, who scored 11 points, and Bryant, who had a team-high 12.

“There were times we shot when we didn’t need to in the first half,” Smith said. “But our offensive rebounding has been non-existent.

The third quarter was back-and-forth, and Valencia entered the final frame up just 35-33, but eventually made the score a lopsided one.

“All we have to do is relax and wait for our shot,” Anumba said. “We know it’ll be there.”

The Vikings now own second place in the league outright despite losing two of their first three in Foothill play.

“We’re getting better,” Mike said. “I like it. This team practices well, and I think we just need to keep our focus forward.”

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