Valencia hoops tops Canyon for tourney title


BURBANK — The Burroughs girls basketball tournament championship between Canyon and Valencia highs on Saturday night was more enticing than enjoyable, more appetizer than main course.

Each team struggled early, grit its teeth and found some semblance of offensive rhythm down the stretch in a potential Foothill League title preview that hung on Canyon’s final possession at Burroughs High in Burbank.

The Cowboys failed to get a shot off, Valencia won 46-45 and now both squads will wait until after New Years for two showdowns with more on the line.

Valencia or Canyon has won — or shared — the Foothill League title every year since 2010.

“It was a game we expected: a battle in the 40s,” said Vikings coach Jerry Mike.

Valencia (8-2), which beat Canyon twice last season on the way to a 10-0 league run, held a 46-43 lead with 57 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

A Selasi Mawugbe layup cut it to 46-45 with 40 seconds left. And, after a Valencia miss, the Cowboys (6-4) had the ball back, out of bounds, with six seconds to play.

But two Canyon players misplayed a handoff, and the ball rolled out of bounds as time expired.

Dramatic? Yes. But Canyon coach Jessica Haayer said it didn’t rise to the intensity level of Foothill League play.

“It’s a whole other opera,” she said.

Rachel Bowers, a 6-foot-3 junior, led the Cowboys with 17 points, but only five came after halftime when Valencia began to clamp down on her in the paint.

Canyon’s Talia Taufaasau followed with 16 points, six of which sparked a 9-0 run to open the fourth quarter, bringing the Cowboys into a 39-39 tie at the 4:30 mark.

But Valencia’s Kayla Konrad answered with a 3-pointer, and Valencia led the rest of the way.

Konrad, named the tournament’s MVP, finished with 17 points.

It didn’t come easy, though. She had just four points before halftime, where Valencia led 25-21.

The Vikings shot 30 percent as a team in the first two quarters (one percentage point better than Canyon).

“We still persevered and came out with the ‘W,’” said Konrad, who made Valencia’s only two field goals in the fourth quarter.

“She earned all of those points,” Mike said. “We wanted to be balanced. We wanted everyone to do their share, but she was definitely who we were going to at the end.”

Vikings point guard Chyanne Pagkalinawan (13 points) and Taufaasau earned all-tournament honors.

Ashlee Ane had 10 points for Valencia, which was playing without standout guard Kenadee Honaker.

Mike hopes to have Honaker, out with a sprained ankle, back soon after Christmas.

Before the two Foothill League heavyweights get together again.

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