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Foothill road leads to splits

The Day After hoops: League titles could be shared for boys and girls

Posted: February 7, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 7, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Valencia freshman point guard Sabrina Thompson and her team will play for a Foothill League title Friday.

 

For the Valencia Vikings and Canyon Cowboys girls basketball teams, it’s simple. If each team wins it splits the Foothill League title.

Both teams will go into their Friday matchups as favorites, but on paper, Valencia has the much more difficult task if it wants to win its first Foothill championship since 2005.

Valencia plays at West Ranch — a team the Vikings barely defeated 43-41 on Jan. 22.

The Vikings are coming off a 67-18 blowout victory on Tuesday over Hart in which senior guard Kalia Summerlin tallied 21 points, seven assists and three steals.

Junior forward Sandra Ikeora added 11 points, 10 rebounds and four steals.

Against West Ranch in the previous meeting, Valencia didn’t find an offensive rhythm until the fourth quarter, where the Vikings scored 19 points.

“They had a good plan. We weren’t very active offensively,” said Valencia head coach Jerry Mike.

West Ranch is coming off consecutive victories, including a 64-54 win over Golden Valley in which junior guard Whitney Branham scored 25 points.

Branham has an argument in the All-Santa Clarita Valley Player of the Year discussion, leading her team at 17.3 points per game.

She’s a primary concern for the Vikings, who clearly understand what they’re playing for.

“We haven’t said anything,” Mike said on if he’s talked to his girls about a Foothill title. “We’re just preparing for West Ranch. ... It’s obvious. They know what’s up.”

As does Canyon, which had very little trouble Wednesday in a 63-35 win over Saugus.

If the Cowboys beat Hart, they win their fourth straight Foothill League title.

Saugus, with a win over Golden Valley at home and a loss by West Ranch would finish in a tie for third place in the Foothill.

They appear in position for a CIF-Southern Section playoff berth.

“I think the girls have worked hard and deserve a playoff spot,” said Saugus head coach Kent Eaton. “They overachieved. Taking one from West Ranch (this season) is huge. But Golden Valley played us tough the last time. We can’t take them for granted.”

Golden Valley is in search of its first league win this season.

 

Boys

Different gender and same scenario.

Hart and West Ranch need wins Friday to each claim a share of the Foothill League title.

On the boys’ side, though, the first-place teams don’t have it easy.

West Ranch, coming off an 86-76 win over Golden Valley on Tuesday, plays a Valencia team that gave it a hard time on Jan. 22 in a 70-63 win.

The Wildcats led by just one point heading into the game’s final period.

If West Ranch wins, it claims its second straight Foothill title, having shared it with Canyon last year.

“All the outside stuff — Foothill League title, playoff seeding — the No. 1 goal is we have to execute. We have to go out there and just hoop,” said West Ranch head coach Shant Bicakci.

Hart had similar trouble with Valencia on Tuesday in a 59-56 win.

The Indians get an up-and-down Canyon team on Friday.

The Cowboys are coming off a 51-42 loss to Saugus, but they have played both Valencia and West Ranch tough this season.

“They’re way better than their record shows,” said Hart head coach Tom Kelly.

A victory for the Indians would mean their first Foothill title since 2007.

“The kids see the opportunity,” Kelly said. “I would think we’re going to be really fired up to finish this.”

Saugus, meanwhile, gets Golden Valley at Saugus and despite the Grizzlies being 0-9 in league play, it’s not a gimme.

Golden Valley is a talented team that plays well in transition.

Saugus is not a high-scoring team, so it sets up for an interesting matchup.

The Centurions beat the Grizzlies 62-53 on Jan. 22.

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