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Prep basketball: Valencia holds court

Vikings have no trouble with Palmdale in own tourney

Posted: December 2, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: December 2, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Valencia forward Talia Roth (20) rises for a layup on Thursday as Palmdale’s Ashley Wolfe defends at Valencia High.

The shooting ability is there and so is the experience.

Valencia girls basketball is emphasizing defense more than anything else, though.

So far, so good as the Vikings blew out Palmdale 67-20 on Thursday in the second day of the Valencia High Five Classic at Valencia High School.

Palmdale scored just five points after halftime due to constant, aggressive pressure from Valencia (3-0).

“We just want to focus on defense,” said Valencia junior Kalia Summerlin. “The offense will come from that.”

That was the case for Summerlin more than anyone else in the game, as she led all scorers with 22 points on 11-of-20 shooting, all of which came before the fourth quarter.

Many of those points came on fastbreak points set up by turnovers.

That’s the kind of game Vikings head coach Jerry Mike wants his team to play given the balance of veterans and talented young players.

“We don’t have any excuses,” Mike said. “If we don’t play well, we can’t say we’re young.”

The roster is complete with five seniors, three juniors, two sophomores and a freshman.

Both Summerlin and senior Ashley Pinsker are two of the team’s returning guards, and if Thursday’s game was any indication, they’ll be the main scoring threats.

Pinsker ended up with 17 points.

Valencia quickly got going offensively with constant ball movement to counteract the zone defense of Palmdale (0-3).

After starting the game on a 7-1 scoring run, the Falcons figured out how to get the ball inside, where they were able to close the gap to 15-9 by the end of the first frame.

“We gave up too many easy shots,” Mike said. “We played a lot of zone. We went back to zone (in the second half) and we worked on our rotations in zone.”

A rash of Palmdale mistakes, including ill-advised passes and shot clock violations, helped the Vikings finish the first half on a 10-2 run to make it a 30-15 advantage at the break.

From there, it was all Valencia, which came up with even more steals and forced turnovers in the second half.
Palmdale shot just 23.5 percent from the field, including a 2-for-16 mark after halftime.

A patient Valencia offense shot an even 50 percent in the game, even after several bench players subbed in during the fourth quarter.

“We’re still unsure of who’s going to be our go-to people,” Summerlin said.

Even in a decisive win though, Mike still sees room for improvement.

“We are definitely nowhere where we need to be to compete with the likes of Canyon and Saugus in league,” Mike said.

The good news is the team has plenty of time to perfect its defense when it plays Royal today at 8 p.m.


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