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Prep girls hoops: Valencia survives the scare

Vikings pull ahead in final minutes for victory

Posted: January 23, 2013 1:55 a.m.
Updated: January 23, 2013 1:55 a.m.
 

If the Valencia Vikings girls basketball team needed a scare sometime in Foothill League play, it came on Tuesday.

First-place Valencia played three listless quarters before eventually outlasting a hungry West Ranch Wildcats team 43-41 at Valencia High.

“I hope so,” said Valencia head coach Jerry Mike on if this was the scare the Vikings will need in Foothill play. “Before the tip-off, I said this is going to be a hard one. ... They were the aggressor. They came out ready.”

West Ranch (10-9 overall, 2-3 in the Foothill League) led after every quarter, except the most important one — the fourth.

At the beginning of the final period, the Wildcats held a 26-24 advantage, but Valencia earned its first lead of the game on its second possession when Jasmin Dimson was fouled and hit two free throws for a 28-26 lead.

The lead grew to as high as 41-32 with 2:15 to play, but West Ranch went on a 9-0 run, keyed by the play of Whitney Branham.

Branham scored eight points in the first quarter to help the Wildcats grab an early 12-7 lead. She scored six points during the 9-0 run, hitting a deep 3-pointer with 30 seconds left to tie the score at 41-41.

On the next possession, Valencia’s Preea Johnson was fouled, as the Vikings got in the frontcourt quickly on offense.

Johnson was clutch off the bench late, and drilled both of her free throws to give the Vikings a 43-41 lead.

On the ensuing possession and with 19 seconds to play, the ball got back in the hands of Branham, who drove inside, but was smothered by Jennifer Anumba, who forced a jump ball.

The possession arrow gave the ball to Valencia and clinched the win for the Vikings.

“We obviously were trying to get the ball to her and get her open for a three,” said West Ranch head coach Randy Smith of Branham, who scored a game-high 18 points.

West Ranch was close, though, and this game proved something, Smith said.

“They know they can play with anyone in this league,” he said.

Kalia Summerlin led Valencia with 14 points.

Wildcat Hannah Green blocked four shots.

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