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Vikes dominant in debut

Starla Wright leads the way for the Vikings with 21 points

Posted: December 2, 2008 10:28 p.m.
Updated: December 3, 2008 4:55 a.m.

Valencia's Faith Anumba (32) battles Nordhoff Ranger player Aubrey Pendleton (3) for possession of the basketball during Tuesday night's game.

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The Valencia girls basketball team started its regular season Tuesday, and it didn't really allow the Nordhoff Rangers to start theirs.

The Vikings excelled at both ends of the floor in a dominant 86-22 victory over Nordhoff at the High Five Classic at the Valencia High School gymnasium.

Valencia (1-0) used suffocating man-to-man defense to throw Nordhoff out of its offense, and that tempo routinely produced easy baskets in transition. Even off makes and missed shots, Valencia pushed the ball down the floor and rarely let the Rangers (0-1) set up their defense.

When it did become a half-court game, Valencia's superior athleticism took care of the rest.

"We want to run," Valencia coach Jerry Mike said. "We like to take the first good shot. Sometimes we may be a little impatient, but that's kind of how we want to play. We have a lot of girls that can score, so we try to get the ball out, and on defense, we apply a lot of ball pressure with help off the ball."

The starting five staked Valencia a 31-10 lead after the first quarter, and there was little drop-off with the reserves, who stretched the lead to 38 by halftime.

Starla Wright scored 21 points - including 13 in the opening period - to lead the Vikings, while Danielle Cavanagh contributed 13 off the bench.

"That's something with this team," Mike said. "In the scrimmage and in the alumni game, we saw a lot of balance. Sometimes the second group comes in and gives us more than the first group. We are balanced, and it makes for good practices, too. Sometimes the units intertwine, and some girls are first unit.

"The starting positions aren't even locked in with this group, so we're pretty deep."

Valencia returned the starters to the floor briefly in the second half, and the hot shooting continued no matter who was in the game.

Vikings Alexus Bryant scored 12 points off the bench, while Lindsey Hill had 11 and Lauren Spargo had 10 points to round out the girls who reached double-figures.

As good as his team looked Tuesday, Mike expects steeper tests as both the season and the High Five Classic continue.

"It was one-sided," he said. "As we get through the tournament, though, we're going to see a close game. Our next one will be tighter, and as we progress through this, they'll get harder and harder."

And when those games come, Mike said, so will the marked improvement.

"I still saw some things we could work on," Mike said, "but for the most part, you don't want to have too many of these, because then you're not going to learn. But it was good for the girls to get out and play. They've been practicing so hard for the past two and a half months. It was fun to see everybody get involved."

Valencia will host Burroughs at 7:30 p.m. Thursday as the High Five Classic continues.


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