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Valencia gets rolling against West Ranch

Viking Jackson scores 25 points; Wildcats’ Flowers held to nine

Posted: January 15, 2010 10:33 p.m.
Updated: January 16, 2010 4:30 a.m.

With a matchup of two of Foothill League’s most prolific scorers — Lonnie Jackson for Valencia and Martin Flowers for West Ranch – Friday night promised to be a scoring marathon in Valencia’s gym.

It hardly disappointed – for a quarter.

But the Vikings’ defense got better as the game wore on, and eventually Valencia trapped, ran and scored its way to a 77-45 win.

West Ranch (9-9, 0-2) kept pace early thanks to its outside shooting prowess. Three 3-pointers by West Ranch’s Anthony Yumul left the Wildcats trailing only 20-19 as it started the second quarter.

And then Jackson took control.

With pull-up 3-pointers, double-clutch layups and a flurry of free throws, the lanky guard seemed to put his team on his back yet again.

He scored 13 in the second quarter and 25 on the night, as West Ranch couldn’t get close to him.

“We wanted to impose our will on them,” Jackson said. “I was just in rhythm, and if they’re going to give me room, I’m going to put it up every time.”

It wasn’t just on offense where he imposed his will though. Jackson also grabbed nine rebounds, four steals and a block. He also led the half-court traps and occasional full-court pressure that troubled the Wildcats.

West Ranch’s backcourt ended up with 12 first-half turnovers, most in the second quarter.

“That’s what we always try to do – our emphasis,” said Valencia head coach Rocket Collins. “We played great defense tonight, and held (West Ranch) to only 26 points in the final three quarters.”

West Ranch head coach Sean Legaux burned three timeouts by the beginning of the third quarter trying to stop Jackson and the Vikings.

None of them worked.    

Jackson had already burned West Ranch’s defense for 21 points with about a minute and a half left in the first half. The Wildcats went into the break trailing 42-31.

“They were just better athletes,” Legaux said. “We were impatient and shot something like 30 (3-pointers) and made six of them. And then they got the rebound, so we’re one and done.”    

Flowers hit a 3-pointer to bring West Ranch within 10 at 44-34 with five minutes gone in the third quarter. He finished with nine points and was unhappy with the Wildcats’ play at both ends of the court.

“We just need to communicate better on defense,” Flowers said. “We needed to be tougher and we just weren’t getting to the basket enough.”

The game went back and forth, but every time Flowers made a play that seemed to give West Ranch momentum, Jackson would find an answer.

Valencia (15-2, 2-0) was no one-man effort, though. Tanner Tredick added four points, nine rebounds and three steals. Zach Davis added 12 points. Aaron Spargo added seven points, six rebounds and a pair of blocks.

But Jackson seemed like he was in a league of his own.

After stripping the ball on defense, he fed teammate Jake Kelfer for a 3-pointer to put the Vikings up 58-38 with 1:35 left in the third quarter.

At that point, Jackson was pretty much done for the night. He scored his last point of the night at the free-throw line on his team’s next possession and left the game to an ovation from the crowd.

With Jackson watching on the bench, Spargo and Troy Hammel played clutch minutes and Valencia’s reserves closed out the game by holding onto the 30-point lead.



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