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Canyon girls basketball rolls over El Toro

Cowboys win first-round game 81-36

Posted: February 22, 2014 10:31 p.m.
Updated: February 22, 2014 10:31 p.m.

Canyon's Alexa Porcia, right battles for a loose ball with El Toro's Alison Kelly on Saturday.

 

Canyon Cowboys girls basketball senior Monica Friedl said the team feels invincible since its win over Valencia two weeks ago.

And in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division IA playoffs, Canyon looked like it.

Behind a stout defensive performance, the Cowboys pulled away early and defeated the El Toro Chargers of Lake Forest 81-36 on Saturday night at Canyon High.

“I thought we came out with energy. We executed well, shared the ball well,” said Canyon head coach Chuck Johns. “They’re a good team from a good a league. And we played one of our better games of the season.”

Canyon (26-4) scored the first 11 points of the game, and extended its lead to 25-7 after the first quarter.

El Toro (10-15) made just one field goal in the period, opposed to its seven turnovers.

In total, Canyon’s fierce pressure on defense led to 24 Charger turnovers.

“We just want to get into the passing lanes as much as possible,” said Canyon senior guard Kali Vittallo, who finished with a game-high 22 points. “This was probably the best game that we’ve done that. We got so many tips, and we are able to frustrate them a little bit.”

The co-Foothill League champions extended their lead to 44-17 at halftime.

Vittallo had 11 points at the break, but she came out charging again in the third quarter.

She quickly doubled her point total, as she dropped in 11 points in a span of 3:58.

“I wasn’t hitting my outside shots,” Vittallo said. “But my teammates were looking for me on the inside going for layups, so I give them props for finding me.”

The Cowboys led 69-29 after three.

Friedl added 19 points for Canyon on 7-for-11 shooting from the floor, while junior Delaney McCann added 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting.

Alison Kelly led the Chargers with 12 points, including two 3-pointers.

Amanda Sanchez chipped in with seven points for El Toro.

“(Canyon) is a really good team. I think they’re going to go far. They have a lot of height, and they’re a little faster than we thought they were,” said El Toro head coach Stephen Kelly on the difference in the game. “A very well coached team.”

Following a 53-27 loss to Valencia in the first half of Foothill League play, the Cowboys have rattled off nine consecutive victories, including a 46-43 win in the rematch against the Vikings on Feb. 7.

“We’ve come so far,” Friedl said. “Last summer you would not have been able to recognize this team.”

Canyon is seeking its fourth straight quarterfinals postseason appearance, and will continue its road against the winner of Knight of Palmdale and Burbank in the second round of the playoffs on Wednesday.

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