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Vikings take off, never look back

Valencia recovers from Friday loss

Posted: January 27, 2009 9:16 p.m.
Updated: January 28, 2009 4:56 a.m.
 
The inability to play with a lead has cost Valencia lately.

The Vikings weren’t about to let it happen again.

Valencia went on an 11-0 run to start the game and fended off Canyon 57-46 Tuesday at Valencia High School.

The two teams traded baskets for most of the game after Valencia’s hot start, but the Vikings (14-7, 2-3) squashed any run that Canyon tried to generate.

“That’s what we talked about, keep pushing and never lag,” said Valencia head coach Rocket Collins. “We get comfortable, and no lead is comfortable in league play so we’ve just got to keep pushing.”

Valencia eventually turned the game into a rout, leading by as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter before the Cowboys (7-14, 1-4) made a late surge.

“You can’t spot a Foothill League opponent 11 points to start the game, especially Valencia at Valencia,” said Canyon head coach Chad Phillips. “I just kept telling my team to battle through it.”

A driving hoop by Wesley Bartole with 1:22 left in the first quarter accounted for Canyon’s first points of the game. From there, the Cowboys stayed within striking distance thanks in part to Mike Edwards, who scored a game-high 19 points while guarding Valencia’s leading scorer Lonnie Jackson, who wound up with 12 points.

“I gave Mike that challenge, and he did a great job on Lonnie,” Phillips said. “He’s not just a scorer; he’s a leader for us.”

The Vikings made a change to their starting lineup by inserting Brennan Bernardino, and Bernardino responded with a team-high 13 points.

“It gives us a little more speed and size,” Collins said. “He had been playing well, so I had to see how it would work.”

Nine different Vikings scored, while Brandon Perry finished with 11 points for Canyon, which was without forward Jonathan Lawson due to illness.

“The way we started was pretty much why we won,” said Valencia senior co-captain Cory Otavka. “We kept with our defense throughout the whole game, and that’s why we were able to maintain the lead.”

jgulino@the-signal.com

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