There would be no moping from the Valencia boys basketball team Friday night.
Three days removed from a gut-wrenching loss against Hart, the Vikings shined from beyond the arc early on their way to a 79-67 win over West Ranch in their final home game of the regular season.
“I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I’ve never felt anything so disheartening (as Tuesday’s loss),” said Valencia coach Bill Bedgood. “It was tough on us mentally but I felt like as a staff we just stayed positive with the guys. We had to keep our focus on this one tonight.”
The Vikings (9-14, 5-3 Foothill League) drained seven 3-pointers in the first quarter and 10 in the first half to get out to a 44-30 lead.
Ben Grant, who hit what looked to be the game-winning shot in Tuesday’s game before a technical foul helped extend the game into overtime, led the Vikings with 16 points Friday.
“We just had to know this could be our last game at Valencia,” Grant said. “We knew that (West Ranch) has trouble here and we gave them our best game.”
Grant had one of the first quarter 3s, Dexter Akanno, who had 14 points, hit two of them and Zach Hawkins tallied three. The trio were part of a smaller lineup employed by the Vikings because of their senior night.
Richard Kawakami matched Akanno with 14 points.
“We just trusted the system and what the coaches brought to the table,” Akanno said
The Wildcats (14-8, 4-4) cut Valencia’s lead to as little as eight in the fourth quarter, despite trailing by 20-plus points in the third quarter. Valencia went 12 of 14 from the line in the fourth quarter to close out the win. Andrew Austin led the Wildcats with 28 points and 10 rebounds, despite sitting out the first five minutes of the third quarter.
“We went at it in the first half, so we decided we were going to sit him to open the second half,” West Ranch coach Sean McKillop said of Austin. “We couldn’t be more proud of the way he responded, though.”
Austin Galuppo was second on West Ranch with 14 points, which dropped its second straight game.
“Sometimes, you just have to tip your cap,” McKillop said. “It’s so tough to come back in this league, especially with the way (Valencia) started the game.”
Valencia travels to Golden Valley (8-15, 3-5) on Tuesday and West Ranch will host Hart.
Saugus 85, Golden Valley 47
Adrian McIntyre led Saugus (18-6, 6-2) with 30 points as it kepts pace with Hart for first place in the Foothill League.
Luke Bodeau was second on the team with 18 points and had a team-high eight rebounds, with Dylan Spring adding 15 points and Cameron Nale 10 points to go with three blocks.
Saugus hosts Canyon on Tuesday.
Hart 71, Canyon 46
Luca Robinson had a team-high 19 points for Hart (18-7, 6-2) , which swept the season series against Canyon.
Whitten Dominguez was second on the Indians with 15 points and Aaron Berko led Canyon (4-19, 0-8) with 11 points.