A year of firsts for the Valencia boys basketball program came to a halt Wednesday night.
The Vikings, playing in their first-ever CIF State playoff game, fell 67-56 at Cajon in the first round of the Division 2 tournament.
Valencia earned a berth into the state tournament thanks to an appearance in the CIF-Southern Section Division 2A semifinals, which was the longest CIF-SS run in program history.
“We just looked fatigued,” said Valencia coach Bill Bedgood over the phone. “It’s been a long season. We had some guys playing banged up and it was just overall a pretty tough night for us offensively.”
Cajon led 30-15 at the half and pushed its lead to as much as 22 points early in the third quarter. But Valencia eventually cut it back to 15 points before the start of the fourth quarter.
Jayden Trower led the Vikings with 14 points and Josh Assiff was the only other play on the team to score in double figures, logging 13 points.
Valencia lost to Riverside Poly in the CIF-SS Division 2A semifinals after earning a playoff berth with a second-place finish in the Foothill League. It picked up playoff wins over Oxnard, Mission Prep and Hesperia to advance to the semifinals.
The Vikings will graduate the likes of Dexter Akanno, last year’s co-Foothill League Player of the Year, guards Ben Grant, Lake Ballard and CJ Finley and 3-point specialist Zach Hawkins.
But they’ll return a trio of quality post players in Trower, Assiff and Richard Kawakami.
“Definitely excited about the future of this program, especially after this playoff run,” said Bedgood, who’s in his first season coaching Valencia. “We’re hoping that we’ve started a trend here and that we’ve set the bar higher for younger classes coming up.”