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Valencia basketball: Not perfect, but still winning

Valencia wins low-scoring affair to take fifth place in Canyon Classic, improving to 7-1 overall

Posted: December 11, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: December 11, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Two tournaments down and seven victories in the books, yet Valencia boys basketball didn’t look particularly celebratory on Saturday.

After winning the championship of the Simi Valley Tip Off Classic last week, Valencia ended up in fifth place in the Canyon Classic after a 67-56 victory over Lancaster at Canyon High School.

The reaction of Valencia head coach Rocket Collins? Not exactly jubilant.

“I think we can be better,” Collins said. “I don’t think we’ve been playing as well as we can but we’re still winning, and I think that says something.”

Troy Hammel posted 24 points to lead the Vikings (7-1) in a game they controlled from beginning to end.

Valencia held a clear size advantage against Lancaster (2-2), which didn’t field a player taller than 6-foot-3 center Clarence Harris.

He led the Eagles with 13 points.

The Vikings have five players on the roster listed at 6-3 or taller, and that resulted in several offensive rebounds and second-chance points.

“Whoever controls the boards is going to win the game,” said Lancaster head coach Sidney Melvin. “They were big, but we just didn’t make enough shots.”

The last time the Eagles led in the game was 8-7 midway through the first quarter, which was followed by a 13-0 Vikings run spanning the early portion of the second.

Valencia led 20-8 at that point, and it maintained a sizeable lead the rest of the way, including a 50-35 halftime advantage.
Though the Eagles tried to rally several times by pressuring Valencia into 19 turnovers in the game, Lancaster couldn’t overcome a 28.1 percent shooting clip in the game.

The closest the Eagles came was 35-27 late in the third quarter after scoring the first six points of the frame.

The presence of the Vikings’ big men in the post disrupted any promising chance at a comeback.

“We know we can be good this year, but we’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Vikings center Michael Zerpoli. “We gave up way too many points.”

Other than Harris, two other Lancaster players made it into double figures with Eno Notofon tallying 11 point and Quest Gates finishing with 10.

Valencia forward Zach Davis wreaked havoc in the paint during the first half, scoring 14 of his 16 points before the break.
Josiah Brown came off the bench for Valencia to score eight points on 3-of-4 shooting.

With 23 second left in the game, Davis went down with an injury and he left the court favoring his right ankle.

Collins said the injury didn’t appear serious.

After playing eight games in a span of 12 days, the Vikings get a break until Thursday when they travel to face Santa Monica.


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