Valencia boys basketball takes down Viewpoint in The Warrior Classic


It was a 3-point extravaganza for the Valencia boys basketball team on Tuesday night against Viewpoint at Bishop Alemany High School.

Every shot from downtown seemed to go in, whether it was senior forward Jayden Trower launching the 3-ball or the usual suspects of Jake Hlywiak and Richard Kawakami.

Five different Vikings hit at least two 3-pointers, leading Valencia to an 81-64 victory over Viewpoint.

Senior Josh Assiff, who said he had been struggling from range to start the season, showed that he can put up points both in the paint and from beyond the arc.

“A lot of time I just get in the flow, playing the rhythm of the game and letting the game come to me,” Assiff said. “Taking good shots and hitting shots that I always hit. I’m a tough shot maker. I’ve been doing this for a while so I just keep doing what I do.”

The 6-foot-8 forward connected on three 3-pointers and finished with 15 points.

Trower joined his fellow big man on the 3-point action, making two himself. The 6-foot-7 senior finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.

While Valencia’s big men showcased their versatility, the guards couldn’t let them have all the fun.

Kawakami nailed two 3-pointers and finished with 16 points while Hlywiak made three from long range and finished with 11 points.

Assiff even joked with Hlywiak after the game that he was the second-best shooter on the team after himself.

“It goes back to working in the gym. Long days in there getting shots up every day,” said Hlywiak, who has made 25 3-pointers so far on the season. “Richard is always finding me. Everyone is looking to make that extra pass because they know I’ll knock it down for them.”

Senior guard Nick Jenney was the other Viking to make multiple 3-pointers, going 2-for-2 from downtown.

While the Vikings can outscore an opponent on any given night, head coach Bill Bedgood said they still must get better on defense.

They play solid defense in stretches but have been known to let up after building up a big lead. Bedgood believes once they learn to play 32 minutes of suffocating defense, they will be difficult to beat.

Hlywiak agreed with his coach, saying he likes his team’s chances this season if they can shore up their defense.

“We’re definitely trying to be a better defensive team because we can score with the best of them,” Hlywiak said. “Once we start holding teams to below 50 points while we’re scoring 80, we’re going to be hard to beat. We can make a long run this year.”

While Valencia can win in a multitude of ways, whether it be dominating in the post, catching fire from the perimeter or outworking its opponent, one thing is evident: the team has great chemistry and they have fun playing together.

“We want everyone to succeed and have fun. That’s what we’re all about,” Hlywiak said.

“We care about each other,” Assiff said. “That’s the best thing about our team. That’s why we look like we’re having so much fun.”

Valencia will play again on Wednesday against Campbell Hall at Heritage Christian High School. The game is set to tip off at 8 p.m. Valencia lost to Campbell Hall 70-66 last week in the semifinals of the Burbank Tournament.

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