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Road Warriors: Vikings Advance

Posted: February 15, 2008 1:19 a.m.
Updated: April 17, 2008 5:02 a.m.
LA CRESCENTA - Finishing its final four regular-season games on the road, the Valencia High girls basketball team carried over the traveling experience into its first playoff game of the season.
The Vikings defeated Crescenta Valley High 62-51 Thursday evening in their CIF-Southern Section Division IA wild card game.
"Thing is in preseason we did a lot of traveling," Valencia head coach Jerry Mike said. "A lot of road games and stuff. I think we're OK on the road as long as we play well."
Valencia did just that, quickly taking the lead in the first quarter thanks to a strong effort by Starla Wright.
Wright took advantage of the middle scoring six points to give her team a 6-0 lead less than two minutes into the game. Lauren Spargo followed with a fastbreak layup but a 3-pointer by the Falcons' Cassie Pappas cut the lead to 8-3 with 5:27 left to play.
The Vikings built an 18-11 lead before Wright, who had eight points in the first quarter, was taken out of the game due to foul trouble.
Valencia took its first double digit lead in the second quarter when Wright took advantage of a three point play giving them a 23-13 lead with 6:52 left in the half.
Sharing the ball through most of the first half, senior Chelsey Hastigan's shot came alive hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to give Valencia a 32-17 halftime lead.
"Eventually my shot will get there and it did," Hastigan said. "It helped us out. It gave us a couple of runs."
Wright finished the first half with 11 points.
"I just went straight up with it," Wright said. "I came out with intensity, it was a playoff game and I wanted to do good."
The Vikings took their biggest lead of the night with 6:15 left to play in the third quarter. A 3-pointer by Hastigan gave them a 39-22 lead.
Though not able to afford it, the Falcons exchanged baskets for much of the third quarter, until a late shift in momentum quickly turned in Crescenta Valley's favor.
A layup by Candice Chessum and a 3-pointer by Stephanie Ziemann brought the Falcons as close as they had been since the first frame at 47-40, but a technical foul by Crescenta Valley's head coach Jason Perez quickly ended the run. The Falcons missed their next five shots, including their opening four shots in the fourth quarter and Valencia regained its double-digit lead.
"They cut it to seven and I was ready to call timeout actually and just settle them down but I think that kind of calmed us a little bit," Mike said of the technical foul.
The Vikings and Crescenta Valley exchanged free throws for the rest of the game as Valencia held on for victory.
Wright finished the game with 15 points and Spargo added 14.
In what could potentially have been her last game, Hastigan finished with a double-double with 11 points and an unselfish 11 assists.
"When I'm not scoring I look for my teammates," Hastigan said. "That's just the game of basketball. You've always got to look for your teammates."
Crescenta Valley was led by Pappas who scored 15 points and Ziemann finished with 11.
Valencia will hit the road once again as it takes on Mission Viejo next.
"It's a little scary thinking that that could be my last game," Hastigan said. "It's going to keep going like that as long as we keep playing. But I just try to stay focused."


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