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Vikes hold off Hart

Valencia nearly lets 17-point lead fall in second half

Posted: January 29, 2010 10:27 p.m.
Updated: January 30, 2010 4:30 a.m.

It was looking like a blowout, and then the Hart girls basketball team fought its way back.

The Indians scraped and banged with Valencia, but eventually the senior-laden Vikings squad earned a 50-47 win Friday at Hart High School.

Valencia’s senior backcourt combination of Jenny Lentz and Lindsey Hill went on a tear in the third quarter as the Vikings made a 20-3 run. But a late Indian rally gave Valencia another scare.  

“We seemed to have a confident lead but give Hart credit,” said Valencia head coach Jerry Mike. “I don’t think we were doing anything wrong on defense, they were just doing a good job of finding the holes.”

Valencia (13-10, 5-1) led by as many as 17 points in the second half, but then Hart started going on a run of its own.

The Indians (6-13, 2-4) got in the bonus with seven minutes left in the game, and center Charlotte Reininger scored inside on three straight possessions to cut Valencia’s lead to 43-39 in the fourth quarter.

“(Reininger) struggled a little bit early but really responded well in the second half,” said Hart head coach Zach Koebel. “(The key) is to limit their opportunities in transition and we did a really good job of that 75 to 80 percent of the time.”

Reininger gave Hart its first lead of the game at 47-45 with less than two minutes left. She finished with 13 points on the night.

But Hill and Lentz took back control of the game, and Valencia’s defense forced three straight turnovers that kept the Indians from building on their lead.

“We were like, ‘Whoa, how did this happen? We have to wake up and play basketball like we know how,’” Hill said.

Lentz hit another layup, Lauren Spargo hit a pair of free throws and Faith Anumba hit a free throw to score the last five points for Valencia.

Both teams were their own worst enemy early on. The first half saw 18 turnovers split evenly between the two sides.

Valencia led 13-8 after the first quarter by working the ball inside and breaking Hart’s press.

Neither team shot particularly well, but Hart managed to hang with the Vikings thanks to a 21-16 rebounding advantage in the first half. Valencia led 23-20 at halftime.

Lentz and Hill began to break down the Indians’ defense in the second half and the Vikings were off and running.

Lentz led the Vikings with 17 points. Hill finished with 12 points and Hart’s Christina Falcone had 13.

“They were big for us down the stretch,” Mike said of his senior guards. “I’m stressed out enough during the game but when the ball’s in their hands I can relax a little bit.”

It only gets rougher for Hart from this point on.

The Indians’ next two games are against Foothill League title contenders Canyon and West Ranch.

Valencia plays West Ranch on Tuesday in a game that should still have big implications as the playoff race begins to materialize.



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