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Balanced Vikings vanquish Panthers

Lonnie Jackson scores 32 points to lead the way in the Canyon Classic

Posted: December 11, 2008 10:11 p.m.
Updated: December 12, 2008 4:55 a.m.
Valencia’s Brennan Bernardino shoots in the Vikings’ 71-58 win over Newbury Park Thursday. Valencia’s Brennan Bernardino shoots in the Vikings’ 71-58 win over Newbury Park Thursday.
Valencia’s Brennan Bernardino shoots in the Vikings’ 71-58 win over Newbury Park Thursday.
Newbury Park capitalized almost every time Valencia had a defensive lapse Thursday evening.

Fortunately for the Vikings, they didn’t have many.

Except for a stretch in the third quarter, Valencia locked down defensively and got a balanced scoring attack, overpowering Newbury Park 71-58 at the Canyon Classic at Canyon High School.

The Panthers came out in the second half and worked the ball inside, something they hadn’t done in the first half, and it rattled the Vikings (5-1) briefly before they pulled away in the fourth.

“We did come out sluggish, like we did (Wednesday), but we hung in there and took care of them in the fourth quarter,” said Valencia head coach Rocket Collins.

The Panthers (1-5) whittled the lead down to two points on a couple of occasions in the third quarter, thanks also in part to Valencia’s suddenly stagnant offense.  Newbury Park stayed within striking distance by doing an excellent job of capitalizing on Valencia’s miscues in the first half, or else the Vikings might have put the game away earlier.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, they finally did.

Emmanuel Anumba scored 11 of his 18 points in the second half, and Lonnie Jackson kept Valencia ahead in the first half by hitting shots inside the arc, outside the arc and from the free throw line.

Jackson poured in 32 points to lead all scorers, and the Vikings also got 12 from Cory Otavka.

“I always coach that the more people you have scoring, the harder it is to guard you,” Collins said. “If one person scores, it’s a little bit easier for the other team, so we like to have that.”

Valencia capitalized on its fair share of lazy defense by Newbury Park, which struggled to find shooters, especially in the first half.

“When you have shooters, you set them up first so it opens up for everybody else,” Collins said. “I think Anumba did a good job today of stepping up and hitting some shots here and there that a lot of other guys would have passed up and looked for other people.”

The Panthers made those kinds of mistakes on offense in the first half by inexplicably putting the ball on the floor when simpler opportunities seemed to present themselves.

They were able to clean up some misses, however, by crashing the glass.

“They got too many offensive rebounds, so we’re going to have to try to limit that,” Collins said.

Valencia will get a chance to do so when it faces Kennedy at 6 p.m. today.


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