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Canyon and Valencia split girls hoops league title

Foothill League girls basketball roundup

Posted: February 13, 2014 10:58 p.m.
Updated: February 13, 2014 10:58 p.m.
 

For the second season in a row, Valencia and Canyon girls basketball are sharing.

The Valencia Vikings defeated the West Ranch Wildcats 60-44 on Thursday at Valencia High two claim its second straight co-Foothill League title.

On the other side of town, the Canyon Cowboys defeated the Hart High Indians 43-30 at Canyon High to claim its fifth straight Foothill championship.

It didn’t sit particularly well with Valencia’s key cog and senior center Sandra Ikeora.

“It feels good, but it doesn’t feel right to share it,” said Ikeora with a slight smile. “I wish they would have us play a tiebreaker or put us in the ring.”

Nonetheless, Valencia (19-8 overall, 9-1 Foothill League) took care of its end, mostly leaning on the veterans — Ikeora and Paige Nealy.

Nealy, with her soft scoring touch, scored 23 points and Ikeora added 12.

Plus the two made it difficult for West Ranch to penetrate inside and score.

However, West Ranch hung tight early on the back of point guard Whitney Branham.

Branham scored 10 of the Wildcats’ 15 first-quarter points and West Ranch (13-13, 4-6) trailed 17-15 after a quarter.

But Valencia held West Ranch without a field goal in the second quarter and built a 32-19 lead by halftime.

West Ranch’s Jasmine Hayes cut the lead to single digits at 34-25 after a layup and foul early in the third quarter.

But the Wildcats never got closer.

The Wildcats shot just 25 percent from the field in the final three quarters.

Branham scored 20 points and Hayes scored 10.

Valencia built its success this season on a mix of youth and experience — with Ikeora and Nealy combining for six years of varsity experience and bringing along three freshmen starters and a sophomore.

It worked.

“For us, we knew what it was like,” Nealy said. “They’re very good. They have a very good basketball IQ.”
Together they helped deliver a title.

Canyon 43, Hart 30
Canyon seniors Kali Vittallo and Monica Friedl helped boost Canyon girls basketball to its fifth straight Foothill League championship on Thursday following a 43-30 win over the Hart Indians at Canyon High.

The win puts the Canyon Cowboys at 25-4 overall, 9-1 in Foothill League.

As long as Vittallo and Friedl have been in high school, Canyon has been at least co-league champs.

“I was excited for this group, I was excited for the seniors,” said Canyon head coach Chuck Johns. “I think kind of carrying that mantle of league championships and consecutive league championships can be daunting at times, and I think they felt relieved.”

Vittallo led Canyon with 15 points, Delaney McCann added 12 points and Friedl tacked on 11.

Canyon led 19-9 after the first quarter but was held to just three points for the rest of the half, putting the score at 22-17 at the break.

Thursday’s win continues a league title streak for Canyon despite the graduation of four-year varsity players Alia McCoy and Jaya Schultz following last season.

The new guard stepped in and proved this team is still one the area’s best.

“I think I always thought that we had enough to challenge for a league title,” Johns said. “I think I question whether the girls believed it themselves until they starting having some success.”

Golden Valley 66, Saugus 47
Mariah Madison scored 14 points, Caitlyn Zindroski and Destiny Monroe each scored 13 points and Cherokee Cardriche scored 12 points and 15 rebounds to lead Golden Valley past Saugus on Thursday. Golden Valley ends the regular season at 14-11 overall, 3-7 in Foothill League play. Saugus (9-17, 0-10) was led by Justice Bennett’s 17 points.

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