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Prep basketball: Valencia storms on Diamond Bar

Vikings jump out to a 19-0 lead en route to blowout win

Posted: February 18, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 18, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Valencia’s Lauren Spargo, back, passes as Diamond Bar’s Katie Jagotka (22) and Daphne Wang look on Thursday at Valencia.

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Valencia girls basketball didn’t want to sit around and wait.

So instead, the fired-up squad got into the action right off the bat and quickly turned the game into a blowout.

The Vikings scored the first 19 points of the game and rode that lead to a 45-28 win over Diamond Bar Thursday night at Valencia High in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division IA playoffs.

The 19-0 run, which spanned to the 5:06 mark of the second quarter, was made possible by a stifling zone defense and domination on the glass.

“We talked about it,” said Vikings head coach Jerry Mike. “We were at home, we had three days of good practice, we had lots of momentum, we’re playing some good basketball, so let’s get a lead early.”

During the first-half run, Lauren Spargo scored 10 of her game-high 20 points with her attacking mentality on offense.

Her aggressiveness, combined with the offensive rebounding of sisters Faith and Jennifer Anumba, gave Valencia (21-7) the push it needed to keep the Brahmas at bay.

“This is my senior year,” Spargo said. “I’ve got nothing to lose, and I felt like if I came out shooting. What can it hurt?”

On the other end, Diamond Bar (12-15) couldn’t buy a shot in the paint, and instead had to settle for contested 3-pointers and jump-shots.

The Brahmas made 2-of-21 shot attempts in the first half, resulting in a 29-5 Vikings lead.

“We haven’t been together very long, and we always have a quarter,” said Diamond Bar head coach Tony McCabe. “We spotted them, what, 20 points?”

The best opportunity for Diamond Bar came in the third quarter, when it outscored Valencia 14-4 to close the gap to 33-19.

What was once a fast-paced, efficient offense for Valencia appeared disorganized and slightly flustered by man-to-man defense.

“I think we just lost interest a little,” said sophomore forward Jennifer Anumba, who finished with five points and 14 rebounds. “We were up by a lot and we started playing them a little light.”

Fortunately for the Vikings, the lead was insurmountable, and the storm was weathered in the final quarter.

“We came to play in the second half at least. We were a half short,” McCabe said. “We’ve done that a number of times.”

The Brahmas’ leading scorer on the season, Yewande Alabi, was limited to zero points and zero shot attempts in the first half, though she finished with a team-high 11 points in the game.

Forward Faith Anumba had eight points and seven rebounds for the Vikings.

The victory puts the No. 8 seed Valencia into the second round, where it will travel to face Corona, which upset the No. 9 seed El Toro 55-51 on Thursday.

“I feel like if we come out playing how we are capable of playing and everybody plays the way they are, we’re going to be tough to beat,” Spargo said.

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