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Vikes back in win column

Jackson scores 28 as Valencia wins first Foothill League game

Posted: January 20, 2009 10:14 p.m.
Updated: January 21, 2009 4:57 a.m.
 
Valencia picked up its first Foothill League victory Tuesday, defeating West Ranch 80-65 on the Wildcats home floor.

Lonnie Jackson led the way with 28 points, while Cory Otavka chipped in 17 and Emmanuel Anumba had 15.

“This was really a complete team effort for us,” Anumba said. “We pulled together, and stayed tough on both ends of the floor.”

The game opened with both teams playing at a frantic pace, but the tempo led to a series of turnovers and a 5-4 Valencia lead more than halfway into the first quarter.

The Vikings were able to settle down first, building a 40-27 halftime cushion behind a trio of threes and 13 first half points from Otavka.

“Before the game we talked about being patient on the floor,” said Valencia head coach Rocket Collins. “As the game went on we started doing a better job of taking our time and getting good shots.”

Good shots were dropping for both teams from the beginning of the second half as West Ranch (12-7, 1-2) guard Beau Martin and Lonnie Jackson both heated up from beyond the arc. Martin hit for 15 points in the third, while Jackson answered with 12 for Valencia (13-6, 1-2).

“I was feeling good,” said Martin, who finished the night with 18 points. “I’m kind of a streaky shooter. Once a couple go in I can get on a roll.”

Martin’s roll kept West Ranch in the game, but the Wildcats were still down a dozen heading into the fourth quarter.

West Ranch opened the final frame on a 6-2 run behind a pair of quick buckets and two free throws from senior center Hakeem Bradley to push the score to 64-56.

But the Wildcats never cut the lead under eight as the Vikings had an answer to every run.

“The way we were able to hold them off with our defense was a big key,” Collins said. “We still had way too many turnovers, especially since we were playing a quality opponent, but we got the win, which is big on the road.”

West Ranch scored the victory even though Bradley poured in a monster fourth quarter, notching 13 of his team high 22 points.

In spite of the scoring outburst from the Wildcat big man, Valencia maintained a double digit lead for most of the final quarter and iced the game with Jackson’s 12-of-12 shooting at the line in the final eight minutes.

“Getting a win is big for us because it gives us incentive to go out there and pick up more,” Otavka said. “It gives us a reason to keep going and keep working on what we’ve been doing in practice.”

Valencia will keep going at home on Friday against Golden Valley, while West Ranch welcomes Hart.

“This game was a good start for us,” Collins said. “We’re starting to do what we want to, but there’s still room to grow.”

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