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Vikes not up to task

Leuzinger’s tempo too much for Valencia

Posted: February 25, 2009 1:45 a.m.
Updated: February 25, 2009 4:54 a.m.
 
Leuzinger of Lawndale raced past Valencia 88-66 in the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division IIAA playoffs Tuesday at Leuzinger High School.

“They go faster than we do,” said Valencia head coach Rocket Collins. “They score a lot off their defense, and we turned the ball over probably 20 times in the first half.”

The second-seeded Olympians (24-5) took advantage of those mistakes and built a 16-point halftime lead. The Vikings (19-10) cut the advantage to 10 midway through the third quarter, but Leuzinger blitzed Valencia into submission from that point on.

Lonnie Jackson scored 20 points to pace the Vikings, and Cory Otavka added 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Jake Kelfer had seven points.

Otavka is part of a departing senior class that also includes Blake Pinsker, Mike Glotfelty, Emmanuel Anumba, Tyler Gray, and Toki Oshodi.

The group helped Valencia recover from the loss of last season’s starting five – which led the team to a Foothill League title – and cancer survivor David Stroud to finish third in the league this winter.

“We had five new starters, plus we lost our best player in David Stroud, so we had to go with five whole new starters,” Collins said. “Four of the guys played last year, and the rest of the guys didn’t, so we had to grow up quick. I think they did pretty much.”

Jackson, who led the league in scoring as a sophomore, will return along with fellow starter Brennan Bernardino next season to try to keep Valencia in the top half of the league.

But given the reshuffling the Vikings had to do this season, Collins isn’t taking anything for granted.

“We might have to go through that process again,” he said.

jgulino@the-signal.com

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