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Cougars hang for only so long

Valley College pulls away late

Posted: February 15, 2009 1:24 a.m.
Updated: February 15, 2009 4:55 a.m.

COC's Terrez Scott (3) drives to the basket as L.A. Valley's Robert Brown defends Saturday.

 
Los Angeles Valley College held off College of the Canyons in a back and forth battle 87-76 on the Cougars home court Saturday.

The Monarchs (16-10, 7-4) never led by more than five in the first half, but Valley managed to make a push in the final three minutes to ice its win.

“In the second half we were more focused and had more passion,” said LA Valley head coach Virgil Watson. “It was still a struggle, but we were able to step up.”

The first half was a full-on struggle as both teams battled to a 39-37 COC lead.

“We did a good job of executing early, but we weren’t able to do what we did in the first half down the stretch,” said College of the Canyons head coach Howard Fisher.

The second half opened with the Monarchs taking the lead from College of the Canyons (9-19, 2-9) on a 3-pointer from Tyief Thompson.

College of the Canyons answered with a bucket from Brannon Bradley, and the teams went back and forth for the first 10 minutes of the first half, tying 10 times overall.

Hart alum Nate Bichara was a big part of Valley pulling away, dropping 16 points.

Chris Horstman led the Mustangs with 20, and the Cougars were paced by 22 from Bradley.

“I thought Bichara shot the ball really well,” Watson said. “Our guys did a good job of moving the ball and making the extra pass, which was big for us.”

After the games final tie at 63-63, Valley went on a 7-2 run to open a five-point lead with 7:16 remaining. College of the Canyons stayed close but never cut the gap to less than three down the stretch.

“They did a better job of taking care of the ball,” Fisher said. “Down the stretch, they got it done at the free throw line and finished.”

The Monarchs sunk nine from the charity stripe in the final three minutes to seal the 11-point victory.

“We’re still growing as a team, but we think things are coming along,” Watson said. “I think we are starting to see what this group can do.”

As for College of the Canyons, a trip to Santa Monica is next on tap as the Cougars look to get back into the win column.

“Overall, we did a good job of executing,” Fisher said. “They just made the shots that they needed to make and closed the game out when they had the chance.”

kdamore@the-signal.com

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