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Golden Valley still rejoices

Posted: February 28, 2009 2:13 a.m.
Updated: February 28, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Golden Valley senior guard Maverick Ahanmisi, behind, tries to get around Gahr's Jerion Henry Friday at Cerritos College in the CIF-Southern Section Division IIIA semifinal.

 
A blend of classic and contemporary R&B music flowed through the speakers at Cerritos College's gymnasium Friday.

Some members of the Golden Valley basketball team danced as they warmed up for their CIF-Southern Section Division IIIA semifinal against Gahr High School.

Others simply watched their teammates and laughed.

The throngs of students, fans and cheerleaders talked excitedly amongst each other while it was going on.

Golden Valley High School has never been this far in any sport - so the Grizzly faithful were enjoying every second of it.

"Most of us were clapping and dancing because we realized that it could be our last game," said Golden Valley senior Maverick Ahanmisi. "We just wanted to have fun with it, so that's what we did."

His fellow upperclassmen agreed.

"It felt good to get loose, go out there, have fun and do what we do," said senior guard Chris White.

Ever since the school was founded in 2004, Golden Valley has been behind the rest of the Foothill League athletically.

It's a reality the boys basketball team faced during the pre-league season, when Golden Valley finished a dominant 15-1, including titles at the Simi Valley Invitational and the Hart Holiday Classic.

But the Grizzlies had been impressive in the 2007-08 pre-league season.

The result?

A 0-10 Foothill League mark.

There were no such struggles in 2009.

Golden Valley shot out to a 5-0 record in league play before suffering its first setback at Hart.

The loss meant Golden Valley had to keep an eye on the team right behind it while looking forward at the same time.

As it turned out, the Grizzlies were up to the task.

"That's everybody's dedication," said senior Rafael Ochoa. "It was always on us. We've never really worried about anybody but us. We know what we have to do to get out there and win."

Capped by a huge road victory against West Ranch, Golden Valley claimed the first Foothill League title of any kind in the history of the school.

But the Grizzlies weren't finished.

After back-to-back blowouts to open the CIF-Southern Section Division IIIA playoffs, Ahanmisi poured in 41 points to help Golden Valley beat Foothill and advance to Friday's game against Gahr.

Although the Grizzlies lost, this year's team has built a foundation that may help the school catch up to the rest of the Foothill League.

The support is certainly there.

"The team welcomed me in," said guard Anthony Petrilli, a senior transfer from West Ranch. "Seeing the fan support, I didn't know it wasn't like that before we came. I just hope it's like that for the teams to come, and I just wish the best for them."


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