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Prep basketball: Vikes learn, apply

Valencia boys recover from rough start to win in Canyon Classic tourney

Posted: December 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: December 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.

The early part of basketball season can often be used for teams to learn about themselves and how to deal with adverse situations.

Thursday night’s lesson for the Valencia High boys team? Patience.

Valencia overcame a poor-shooting, turnover-riddled first half to beat Eastside of Lancaster 62-47 on the fourth day of the Canyon Classic tournament at Canyon High School.

“I think it was just confidence,” said Valencia guard Troy Hammel. “We really weren’t shooting it well and we weren’t feeling it. ... We knew the shots would start to fall.”

That they did, especially for Hammel, who recovered from missing five of his first six shots to end up with a game-high 22 points that included six made 3-pointers.

After going into halftime knotted up at 19-19, Valencia (6-1) went to the full-court press against Eastside (1-2), which struggled to handle the defensive adjustment.

The pressure forced the Lions to make quick decisions and, as a result, lots of ill-advised passes and turnovers that would lead to easy buckets for the Vikings on the other end.

It wasn’t an ideal start for the Vikings, who fell behind 11-0 to start the game and didn’t get on the board until the 2:27 mark of the opening frame.

Valencia then answered with an 11-0 run of its own to tie it up early in the second.

After making just 8-of-33 attempts before the break, Valencia rallied back to shoot 53 percent in the second half.
“I was just trying to get them to have more energy,” said Vikings head coach Rocket Collins of the decision to press.

It turned out to do a lot more than that.

In addition to the turnovers, Valencia’s inside game got going as forward Zach Davis scored all eight of his points in the second half as he finished 4-of-5 from the field.

That opened up Hammel on the outside, much to the dismay of Eastside head coach Jesse Parker.

“We tried to contain (Hammel) with the 2-3 zone, just shadowing and trying to match him up, and I think early on it kind of worked,” Parker said. “In the second half, you saw us speed the game up and we were playing to their tempo.”

By the end of the third quarter, Valencia led 40-31 and it continued to build on that lead in the fourth.

Clifton Jordan led the Lions with 17 points, 13 scored before halftime.

The only other player in double digits was Valencia’s Daniel Salovich, who tallied 10 points.

Valencia will play its final game of the Canyon Classic on Saturday against either Highland or Lancaster at 3:30 p.m.
The best the Vikings can do is a fifth-place finish in the tournament, which isn’t the biggest concern for the Valencia coach.

“What’s important to us is that we go 3-1,” Collins said.


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