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Vikings fly by Eagles

Sophomore Lonnie Jackson leads the way for the Vikings, named MVP

Posted: December 13, 2008 10:00 p.m.
Updated: December 14, 2008 4:55 a.m.

Valencia's Lonnie Jackson (20) jumps over Mark Dozier (34) and another Lancaster player for a layup in Saturday night's championship game.

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After winning four games by an average of 18 points, Valencia left no doubt it deserved the Canyon Classic championship.

The Vikings and got 27 points from tournament MVP, sophomore Lonnie Jackson and put together a complete effort in a 68-54 rout of Lancaster Saturday evening.

Valencia (7-1) captured the title by coming out with more energy and dominating the glass, two of Lancaster's biggest strengths.

"That was a big factor, and that's one of the things we talked about beforehand," said Valencia head coach Rocket Collins. "We have to rebound, and then be just as aggressive and not try to outrun them but do it in a controlled fashion, more than just zipping up and down the floor."

Valencia also turned the Eagles' up-tempo style against them by beating them to spots and taking several charges in the first half. In all, Lancaster (3-1) looked a bit sapped after an emotional win over host, Canyon, Friday night.

"We came out flat, and it's hard to play two emotional games back to back," said Lancaster coach Sid Melvin. "This is a great Valencia team. They had a lot more energy. It seems like they wanted it more than we did. We need to learn how to play with intensity every game."

Most of Valencia's baskets came off excellent movement without the ball. Senior co-captains Emmanuel Anumba and Cory Otavka did a good job of catching passes and finishing at the hoop, and both were named to the all-tournament team for their efforts.

As two of the most experienced players on a young Vikings team, the leadership of Anumba and Otavka will be important as the season progresses.

"I contribute what I have learned from playing varsity," Anumba said. "I feel I have to help my team grow and understand what they do so they can play defense, offense and be the best team that they can be."

With a 14-point advantage at halftime, Valencia continued to match Lancaster's intensity the rest of the way, and pushed the lead to as many as 27 points thanks to 53 percent shooting in the third quarter.

As he had all tournament, Jackson set the curve on offense by hitting deep 3-pointers and shorter looks that typically came off drives to the basket. The sophomore averaged 24.5 points per game at the Canyon Classic, and when he wasn't scoring, he found ways to get his teammates involved.

"He's not only seeing the ball, but passing the ball well, too," Collins said. "Everybody's starting to get in a flow. He's connecting with the bigger guys inside now, too."

Anumba scored 13 points for the Vikings, while Otavka and Aaron Spargo added seven apiece.

Kennedy 57, Canyon 53
Canyon Classic consolation game

Canyon turned in a balanced scoring effort but couldn't come up with enough plays down the stretch in a loss to Kennedy of Granada Hills in the Canyon Classic consolation game.

The Cowboys allowed just five points in the first quarter, but Kennedy jumped right back into the game with a strong second quarter.

Mike Edwards led Canyon with 10 points, while Brandon Perry added nine. Edwards was named to the all-tournament team as the senior sharpshooter averaged 15.8 points per game during the Canyon Classic.


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