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Valencia takes care of basketball, gets good games from Hill, Wright

Vikings adjust to beat ’Cats

Posted: February 7, 2009 2:45 a.m.
Updated: February 7, 2009 4:55 a.m.

West Ranch's Michele Arima, left, drives the lane as Valencia's Madison Lanc pursues during the third quarter Friday at Valencia High School.

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After falling to West Ranch in the teams' first matchup of the season, Valencia made a few changes and turned the tables on the Wildcats.

It took just two changes for the Vikings to defeat West Ranch 43-37 at Valencia High on Friday night.

"We knew we just had to play our game and not like we did last time against them," said Valencia point guard Lindsey Hill. "This time we were smarter with our passes and we had Starla (Wright)."

That combination proved to be just enough to power the Vikings (19-5, 6-2) as they turned the ball over only 11 times in the game, and Wright chipped in with 12 points. Hill had a game high-14 points.

After West Ranch (12-11, 5-3) started the game by jumping out to a 6-2 lead, Valencia bounced back with a 9-0 run to take a lead it wouldn't relinquish.

One of the keys for Valencia was keeping the Wildcats' leading scorer Erin Ruiz to only four points and one field goal.

"We went to a funky defense with a chaser to stop Ruiz," said Valencia head coach Jerry Mike. "We didn't want her to hurt us and we didn't want to lose because of her. The chaser worked pretty well."

With Ruiz held down it was up to the rest of the Wildcats to pick up the slack.

Wilson finished with a team-high and season-high 12 points.

"We didn't mind Ruiz down. Tori (Wilson) stepped up and our post players played real well," said West Ranch head coach Randy Smith.

With their post players scoring, both teams battled evenly until the fourth as the Vikings took a 33-30 lead into the final frame.

Then, it was Hill and Wright who led the charge for the Vikings as they held back each spurt from West Ranch.

The Wildcats cut the lead to 39-37 with 1:13 left to go, but Wright then knocked down two free throws with 21 seconds left to seal the game. Two more from Wright provided the final margin of 43-37.

With the win, Valencia remained one game back of Saugus in the Foothill League standings.

"That was a nice win," Mike said. "We wanted to keep pace with Saugus should they fall. We feel like we should be up there with them."

For West Ranch, it is still looking to make the playoffs after its fast league start.

"We just want to win two more games and head into the playoffs," Smith said. "So we'd better be ready to play come next Tuesday against a good Hart team."


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