Valencia boys basketball saddled up to play Granada Hills Charter High School in The Warrior Classic at Bishop Alemany on Friday.
At first glance, the Vikings looked like the more physically talented team with their length and size. That was not the case on Friday, as the Highlanders gave them all they could handle, but Valencia escaped with the 58-51 win.
“It wasn’t our best shooting night and we turned the ball over a little too much, but we have been concentrating the last few games on defense because we were giving up 70 or 80 points and we were winning,” said Valencia head coach Bill Bedgood.
Coming out a little sloppy and giving up careless turnovers in the first half, Valencia (6-3) couldn’t get its usual trio of scorers, Richard Kawakami, Jayden Trower and Josh Assiff going.
Looking for answers, the Vikings turned to Jake Hlywiak.
Finishing the game with 18 points, Hlywiak did not hesitate shooting from deep, keeping the Vikings in the game throughout the first half.
”I was just feeling it today,” Hlywiak said. “I went and got some shots up before the game, making everything and it carried into the game.”
Grant Kim and Kevin Konrad also got in on the action, coming off the bench and getting pivotal buckets and key rebounds.
Kim finished with nine points and five rebounds while Konrad finished with five points and five rebounds.
“I think it’s really big,” Hlywiak said. “We were really playing defense today because they were pressing us a lot. But we got timely buckets in the second half from everyone and we just took it from there.”
Down 28-26 heading into halftime, the Vikings quickly erased the deficit in the opening minutes of the third quarter on a Hlywiak corner three.
Going ahead 29-28, Valencia buckled down on defense, only allowing the Highlanders (1-3) to score a combined 22 points in the third and fourth quarters to seal the victory.
Valencia plays its final game in The Warrior Classic tomorrow against Calabasas at 5:30 p.m. at Heritage Christian.