Valencia boys hoops edges West Ranch

Valencia's Kyler Motoyasu, right, grabs a loose ball away from West Ranch's Austin Galuppo at Valencia earlier this month. Dan Watson/The Signal

Valencia High boys basketball survived a frenzied fourth-quarter comeback by West Ranch High on Tuesday night at Valencia High, holding on for an 83-79 win in a Foothill League opener.

The Wildcats (8-8 overall, 0-1 in Foothill) trailed by 16 points at the end of the first half but surged after the break behind Chris Kodama, who led West Ranch with 23 points.

Zach Hawkins led Valencia (8-8, 1-0) with 27 points.

MORE boys basketball: Saugus defeats Hart / GV defeats Canyon

“I give credit to West Ranch and coach Bicakci because he always gets his team ready to compete to win the game,” said Valencia coach Chad Phillips. “We knew that they were going to go on plenty of runs in the second half and we just had to sustain it. And we did.”

With Valencia sophomore standout Jayden Trower absent from the game due to an undisclosed injury, Dexter Akanno and Hawkins shared in leading the Vikes to the win.

Akanno, who often found himself double-teamed, had 19 points.

As a team, the Vikings shot 61 percent from the field and 65 percent from beyond the arc.

“That’s something we’ve been aspiring for, and we took the right shots tonight to get to the basket,” Phillips said. “It was a good win. I’m proud of the boys.”

The Vikings will play at home again on Friday, this time against Golden Valley, which opened with a win over Canyon.

West Ranch will play at home against Saugus on Friday.

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