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Prep basketball: Canyon back to its ways

Cowboys resemble dominate teams of past three years

Posted: December 14, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: December 14, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Canyon's Alia Mccoy (23) Gets Past Highland's Ashley Kelsick (0) to shoot on Thursday night at Canyon High.

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There Canyon girls basketball goes again.

Driving another team crazy.

The Santa Clarita Valley’s premier girls basketball program over the last three seasons defeated Highland 78-43 on Thursday night at Canyon High.

And 15 minutes after the game, a group of Highland players were outside of the gym yelling at each other for being too slow down the court.

Canyon was in control from the start of the game, looking like the well-oiled machine of years past.

Alia McCoy led the way with 27 points, as she turned in her usual prolific inside-outside game.

Canyon’s five starters combined for 74 points, including 18 from junior guard Kali Vittallo and 14 from senior forward Jaya Schultz.

“We know each others’ strengths, what we can do and where every one is on the floor,” Vitallo said on why Canyon is a successful team.

The Cowboys have gotten off to an 8-1 start. Included in that is a victory of the Buena Tournament last week.

Canyon got off to an 18-4 start in this game, with McCoy scoring 10 points through the game’s first four minutes.

Highland (1-2) had a difficult time defending the lanky senior forward and also had difficulty keeping Schultz from attacking the basket early.

Defensively, the Cowboys were also in the Bulldogs’ faces throughout the game.

Canyon led 25-13 after one quarter and surrendered only a combined 14 points in the second and third quarters.

Canyon head coach Chuck Johns also pointed to the defense of guard Marissa Schwimmer as a difference-maker Thursday night.

It’s that combo of Vittallo and Schwimmer that is a key to Canyon’s success in 2013.

Canyon knows, more often than not, what it will get from the balanced McCoy and aggressive Schultz.

Vittallo has become a threat from the outside.

Schwimmer is the distributor.

So when those two are working well, it relieves the pressure from McCoy and Schultz.

“Oh my God, she’s amazing,” Schwimmer said of Vittallo. “She hits everything.”

“You were giving me the passes, though,” Vittallo said back to Schwimmer.

The Bulldogs started to find offense in the fourth quarter, though they trailed 59-27 going into the final frame.

Yet it was never close.

Highland got 37 of its points from the combo of Ashley Kelsick (23 points) and Briana Albertson (14 points).

“They’re a fundamentally sound team. They’re patient with the ball. They box out. They do all the things you should do to be a championship-caliber team,” said Highland head coach John Taylor of Canyon.

Schwimmer scored six points and Delaney McCann added nine for Canyon.


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