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Valencia handles Hart’s pressure

Despite subpar play through three quarters, Vikes put it together in the fourth to stave off Indians

Posted: January 12, 2010 10:50 p.m.
Updated: January 13, 2010 4:30 a.m.
Valencia guard Madison Lanc, left, steals the ball from Hart guard Mariah Glasshoff Tuesday at Hart. Valencia guard Madison Lanc, left, steals the ball from Hart guard Mariah Glasshoff Tuesday at Hart.
Valencia guard Madison Lanc, left, steals the ball from Hart guard Mariah Glasshoff Tuesday at Hart.

For three quarters, the Hart girls basketball team stifled Valencia with its full-court pressure.

In the final period, Valencia taught a young group of Indians the value of experience.

A 23-point fourth quarter carried the Vikings past Hart 59-54 Tuesday at Valencia High School in the Foothill League opener for both teams.

“That’s competing in the Foothill League,” said Hart head coach Zach Koebel. “I felt like we played really well for three quarters, but then we just didn’t finish it out strong.”

Valencia senior Jenny Lentz scored 11 points, senior Faith Anumba added six and senior Lindsey Hill notched three steals, all in the fourth.

While the Vikings (9-8, 1-0) looked frustrated, Hill said her team’s confidence didn’t falter.

“To be honest, they came out hard and were just more aggressive than us,” Hill said. “I think eventually, we just realized what we had to do. We just had to outhustle them.”   

The Indians (5-13, 0-1) came out with the press and led 14-10 after the first quarter.

Hart junior Charlotte Reininger limited Valencia’s looks inside the key and helped her team dominate the glass in the first half.

Reininger finished the game with 11 points, 11 rebounds, two steals and a pair of blocks.

The pressure of Hart’s guards made the Vikings’ offense look sloppy throughout the first half.

Valencia committed three straight turnovers going into the break and trailed 28-24.

Hart, meanwhile, looked calm on offense. Junior Christina Falcone demonstrated a versatile offensive game, scoring 11 points in the first half on a pair of jumpers, a layup, a pair of free throw and a 3-pointer.

A few timely points by Madison Stately kept the Indians ahead through three quarters.

But in the fourth, Valencia began to gain steam.

Vikings forward Lauren Spargo led the team in scoring with 14 points total, but more importantly, she had several key rebounds and blocks as Valencia clawed its way back.

The ball control that allowed Hart to dictate the pace deteriorated, and Valencia began to take over the game the way Hart had — in transition.

“We started the fourth quarter with four straight turnovers and then they had the momentum,” Koebel said. “That really hurt us.”

It didn’t help the Indians that Lentz and her senior teammates stepped up their games.

A pair of steals by Hill turned into pull-up jumpers by Lentz, and Valencia was also able to work the ball down low to Anumba, who was held in check for most of the game.

“In the beginning, we started off slow,” Lentz said. “You have to give credit to Hart, they put a lot of pressure on us. I think we knew what we had to do (as a team), and I knew I had to make a few buckets to help my team.”

The Vikings built an eight-point lead at the free-throw line as Hart got into foul trouble in the final minutes.

A late 3-pointer by Hart’s Brittany Costanzo made the final score 59-54.

“You just have to keep fighting,” said Valencia head coach Jerry Mike. “These girls have played enough games to know that.”



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