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The Day After Hoops: A revealing day in league

Contenders rise and streak falls

Posted: January 17, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 17, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Canyon's Steven Brotz (33), left, and Valencia's Jaleel Howard (12) fight for a loose ball during Tuesday's game at Canyon High School.

 

Feb. 8, 2011 - Jan. 15, 2013.

The tombstone is now set on Hart girls basketball’s Foothill League winless run.

For years the premier girls basketball program in the Santa Clarita Valley, the Indians have fallen on hard times, which included an 0-10 mark in 2012 in the Foothill League.

On Tuesday, Hart defeated an up-and-coming Golden Valley team 53-44.

The losing steak was 13 games.

“It’s bittersweet,” said Hart head coach Terra Palmer of her first Foothill win.

Bittersweet?

Yes.

There’s a backstory here.

The win came at the expense of Golden Valley’s head coach Kerri Garland, who Palmer coached at College of the Canyons from 1994 to 1996.

It was a tight game where Hart (6-11 overall, 1-2 in the Foothill League) was up 34-32 in the fourth quarter, but outscored the Grizzlies (6-10, 0-3) 19-12 in the final frame.

Hart’s Breze Kimble scored 15 points and had 11 rebounds, five steals and three blocks, despite being in foul trouble early.

Freshman point guard Julia White scored 13 points with four rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks, while backcourt mate Nikki Aganian chipped in 10 points and five assists.

Senior Kianna Landon added 14 rebounds for Hart.

Hart’s reward — hosting first-place Valencia (14-5, 3-0) on Friday.

Valencia was part of an enlightening day in the Foothill League.

The Vikings knocked off preseason Foothill title favorite Canyon (15-4, 2-1) 40-38 to take sole possession of first place.

Looking back, it shouldn’t have been a surprise because of the Vikings’ depth and something else.

“We talked about being relentless on the boards,” said Valencia head coach Jerry Mike.

The Vikings almost had a two-to-one advantage in rebounding in the game at 37-19.

Meanwhile, Saugus (11-9, 2-1) might have pulled off a bit of a surprise with a 45-37 win against West Ranch (9-8, 1-2).

With Valencia and Canyon expected to battle it out for the top spot in league, that No. 3 spot appeared to be for West Ranch.

Saugus, a team that will have to play great defense to win games, did just that on Tuesday.

“We played defense, solid defense,” said Saugus head coach Kent Eaton.

Eaton pointed to two players as keys on the defense — Rachel Eaton and Alexa Ferrante.

But it was a team effort that helped keep West Ranch’s duo of Whitney Branham (nine points) and Hannah Green (10 points) from going off offensively.

Offensively, it was Faye Osburn who carried the load for Saugus with her 17 points.

The Centurions host a ticked off Canyon on Friday while Golden Valley travels to West Ranch in a critical game for both teams.

“League is different than everyone thought it was going to be,” Palmer said. “For Golden Valley to be ahead against Canyon at halftime (Jan. 8), for Saugus to beat West Ranch, it’s kind of whose feeling it and when.”

Boys

Valencia (14-3, 3-0) gets the opportunity to prove that its a league title contender on Friday.

The Vikings go into their game at Hart High against the 2-1 and loaded Indians tied with West Ranch atop the Foothill League standings.

Valencia defeated Canyon (11-8, 1-2) 58-42 on Tuesday in a game that was never in doubt.

Vikings guard Riley Honaker, who led all scorers in the game with 15 points, said the fact that not many people gave the Vikings credit before league play started didn’t bother the team.

Nor did he declare the Vikings as a top-tiered Foothill team — yet.

“I don’t really know about that. If we beat West Ranch and Hart, then you’ll see,” he said.

Canyon head coach Sean DeLong commented after the game that the Vikings want to sell people on the fact that they’re not very big.

That may be true, he said, but they’re long.

And with those long wingspans, that aggressive nature and effort, the Vikings play big.

Their quick aggressive play should make for a great matchup with Hart (15-1), which won a game against Golden Valley 74-64 on Tuesday.

Valencia head coach Rocket Collins said his guys are up for the challenge.

“Our guys have been pretty calm,” he said. “We’ve played tough teams. Stockdale (of Bakersfield who the Vikings lost 56-46 to on Saturday), you talk about athletic. And we’ve played Westlake. (Our guys) are not afraid of it.”

West Ranch, which hosts Golden Valley (5-14, 0-3) on Friday, beat Saugus 73-57 on Tuesday.

That puts Saugus (10-10) in a tough situation at 0-3 in the Foothill League.

Which makes the Canyon, 1-2 in league, Saugus game at Saugus High a big one.

“We have to get better. We’ll give Saugus respect. But for us we have to get better. Until that happens, it doesn’t matter who we play,” DeLong said.

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