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Vikings boys basketball can't close on the road

Valencia loses to Trabuco Hills in second round

Posted: February 25, 2014 11:01 p.m.
Updated: February 25, 2014 11:01 p.m.

Valencia boys basketball head coach Rocket Collins wouldn’t agree that Trabuco Hills was a well-oiled machine — the machine part was what he disagreed with.

But the way he described the difference for the Mustangs in Tuesday’s CIF-Southern Section Division IIAA second-round game made the “well-oiled” part accurate.

The Vikings lost 74-65 to Trabuco Hills in Mission Viejo with Collins saying a deciding factor being the cohesiveness of the Mustangs’ veteran squad.

“You talk about senior leadership — 11 of the 13 (players) were seniors,” Collins said. “They’re going to execute. It’s (potentially) their last game.”

The game was tight throughout with Valencia trailing 16-14 after one quarter and 29-28 at halftime.

Valencia (20-9) led 46-44 going into the fourth quarter, but just couldn’t close the game out on the road.

What bit Valencia in the fourth quarter was a microcosm of the season — the Vikings’ good streaks were really good, and their bad ones were empty.

Valencia stopped hitting shots late.

Senior Angel Cardenas ended a stellar season with 22 points and was hounded all game by Trabuco Hills (18-10).

Malik McCowan added 15 points and six rebounds.

Valencia has reached at least the second round of a playoffs in five of the last six seasons.

“Very rewarding,” Collins said of the season. “Nobody thought we would do anything. We surprised people. We surprised people with the character we had.”


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