The Valencia High girls basketball team was excited to play its first home game Thursday night – really excited. Valencia romped Rio Mesa High School 62-17 in its home opener. Throughout the game Valencia dominated on the glass, in the paint, and pretty much everywhere else. Valencia coach Jerry Mike said The Vikings (9-2) played fast. “They looked like they were fired up to just get out and run and be at home and play,” Mike said. “We’ve had two away tournaments, and I think that had a little to do with being fired up.”
Junior forward Jade Jordan quickly put Valencia up 3-0 with a 3-pointer just 52 seconds into the game. Over the next minute and a half, Valencia went on a tear, turning four Spartan turnovers into eight points. After Valencia established an 11-0 lead just 2:33 into the game, the Vikings never looked back. Rio Mesa’s first buckets came on two layups with less than one minute in the first quarter, but the Vikings still led 23-4 at the end of the frame. Valencia picked apart Rio Mesa’s zone defense all night, with players driving to the basket. When shots didn’t fall, the Vikings were all over the offensive glass, and handily out rebounded the Spartans. Junior guard Chyanne Pagkalinawan hit a 3-pointer as time expired to send the Vikings into halftime with a 43-7 lead. “We played well as a team and played well together,” Pagkalinawan said. Kayla Konrad, a senior forward and UC Davis commit, led Valencia with 25 points. Pagkalinawan was second for the Vikings with nine points. Junior guard Tiana Beale also had six points. Despite Valencia’s gaudy offensive numbers, Konrad, Pagkalinawan and Beale said the team’s defense played better tonight and gave the offense opportunities. Rio Mesa (5-4) turned the ball over 19 times, 10 of which came in the first half. Valencia had just seven turnovers, but three came in the fourth quarter. “Defense is the number one thing that wins games,” Beale said. The 45-point win is Valencia’s largest margin of victory this season. Valencia also had 36 point wins against Burbank High and Ayala High of Chino Hills.