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Valencia steps on gas late

Vikings go on a fourth-quarter run to win the game

Posted: February 3, 2009 9:56 p.m.
Updated: February 4, 2009 4:55 a.m.

For most of the game against Hart Tuesday, Valencia looked sluggish.

When the game was truly in the balance, Valencia looked like its normal self.

Down by one midway through the fourth quarter, the Vikings went on a 15-7 run to close the game and earn a 62-53 Foothill League victory over Hart.

By forcing misses on defense, Valencia (18-5, 5-2) pushed the tempo and created high-percentage shots in transition to pull away.

The first three-and-a-half quarters, however, are still a mystery to Vikings head coach Jerry Mike.

"Maybe it was us, maybe it was them," he said. "Compared to last week, when we looked like lightning, we looked slow. I thought we increased our energy when we needed to in the fourth."

Vikings point guard Lindsey Hill slipped into the corner after inbounding the ball and hit a big 3-pointer to start the run, and she teamed with co-captains Starla Wright and Jenny Lentz to spur on Valencia.

"Everyone has to turn it on," Hill said. "It's not just me, it's the whole team. When things are down, we have to pick everyone up and get their heads in the game."

Things were down for Valencia because Hart (1-22, 1-6) did a good job defending the interior and got 16 points apiece from Brittany Costanzo and Briana Fitchpatrick.

Too often, however, the Indians gave up offensive boards, and Wright made them pay by scoring a game-high 24 points.

"We didn't do a very good job of keeping her off the glass," said Hart head coach Zach Koebel. "Our interior defense was all right, but it's only good if you get stops."

Valencia shot just 37.5 percent from the field, but hit 8-of-10 shots in the fourth quarter. Hill, Wright and Lentz combined for 17 of the Vikings' 23 points in the period.

"We didn't play smart down the stretch," Koebel said. "We didn't even give ourselves a chance to win it in those last three minutes because of our mental lapses."


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