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Posted: January 26, 2008 12:34 p.m.
Updated: March 28, 2008 2:02 a.m.
Who can the Valencia boys basketball team thank for finding themselves alone in first place?

That would be a freshman and a senior.
In a clash of two teams tied atop the Foothill League, the Vikings defeated Saugus 68-60 on Friday night, and it was Lonnie Jackson who drained a 3-pointer to give his team a 32-21 lead with just over four minutes to go in the third quarter.
Then he hit another one about a minute later. And to open the fourth quarter, he hit a third, which gave Valencia a 43-41 advantage.
It helped to set the stage for the John Otavka show in the fourth quarter, who scored a game-high 27 points.
His 16-point barrage in the final frame allowed the Vikings to pull away in a close game that had been played at a frantic pace in front of a standing-room only crowd at Valencia High.
"Two things," said Valencia head coach Rocket Collins. "(Otavka) got going in the fourth. But Lonnie Jackson hit two threes and I think that opened John up. Then you have two guys to worry about."
It gave the Centurions (17-4, 4-2) more than they could handle.
The senior Otavka came into the final frame with 11 points but with the game deadlocked at 43-43, Otavka hit his first trey of the fourth quarter with 6:36 left in the game, which gave the Vikings a lead that they would not give up the rest of the way.
He drained another pair of 3-pointers after that and was 7-for-7 from the charity stripe in the frame too. Otavka scored 16 points in the fourth quarter, just three less then the entire Centurions team combined in that stretch.
Otavka even completed a four-point play after getting fouled on a 3-point shot he made from deep in the corner.
"He's not a secret," said Centurions head coach Jeff Hallman. "Sometimes you hold him down, sometimes you don't. Tonight, we didn't."
Valencia had its biggest lead of the night after Jim Baughman scored for a 60-49 advantage. Baughman finished with 13 points and Jackson scored 11.
For Saugus, Mario Wright and Mitch Weber led the way with 14 points apiece. Michael Cassio and Cameron Diorio added 11 each.
It wasn't enough for Saugus in a a game that saw 13 lead changes and seven ties.
The Centurions stayed shot-for-shot with the Vikings until the fourth and that's when Otavka started feeling it.
"Especially if my shots are falling, I look for my shot a little more," Otavka said. "Sometimes it's easy when my teammates set me up. It's just catch and shoot."


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