Valencia boys basketball outrebounds Canyon on way to victory

Valencia's Jayden Trower goes up for a jump shot against Canyon on Tuesday at Canyon High School. Photo courtesy of Jacob Velarde

The Valencia boys basketball team hit the road on Tuesday night to take on Canyon at the midway point of the Foothill League season.

The Vikings held on to their undefeated league record, defeating the Cowboys 81-62 behind a pair of double-doubles from Jayden Trower and Josh Assiff.

Trower finished with 22 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, but also was a factor on defense logging four steals and three blocks.

Assiff logged 13 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals.

“I just feel like it’s a team effort, I try to get my teammates involved as much as possible but also find the best shot for me as well. I’m just trying to be unselfish,” Trower said. “It’s just tempo. It’s a lot of running and that’s where we got most of our buckets from.”

Valencia outrebounded Canyon 40-17 including 18 offensive rebounds, eight of which were pulled down by Trower.

Valencia’s Jayden Trower records one of his three blocks on Tuesday night. Photo courtesy of Jacob Velarde

“To go against that size you have to box out perfect, you have to hope the refs call over-the-backs and we didn’t box out enough on our side,” Canyon head coach Sean DeLong said. “Nobody else controlled it, we could have boxed out better. They gave up too many inside shots and those are tough to box out.”

The Vikings bench also came up huge on Tuesday, as Kevin Konrad, Grant Kim and Eli Brill all made significant impacts to lead Valencia’s second unit.

The trio combined for 20 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. Konrad had 12 points, six rebounds, an assist and steal himself.

“We know we have fresh legs that can produce on the floor and it’s crucial,” Trower said about the second unit. “People on the other team aren’t expecting it. We always work hard in practice, give 110 percent, so the bench is always going to be ready no matter what.”

Junior captain Anthony Gallo led the Cowboys with 25 points, hitting four 3-pointers and going 5-of-6 from the free throw line.

Canyon’s Anthony Gallo goes up for a layup as Valencia’s Jayden Trower goes for the block. Photo courtesy of Jacob Velarde

Gallo was a little banged up last week but looked to be back to his usual self on Tuesday with his stroke looking consistent throughout the contest.

“I had to have a good game to help my team out because Valencia is pretty talented,” Gallo said. “My teammates were able to find me the ball and my shot was just good today.”

Willie Yomba was second on the Cowboys in scoring, finishing with 14 points, six rebounds, two assists and a steal.

The majority of his points came in the second half when he was aggressive driving in the lane, leading to 10 second-half free throw attempts.

Canyon’s Willie Yomba goes up for a shot against four Valencia defenders. Photo courtesy of Jacob Velarde

“It’s something we talked about downstairs. When he comes out with that aggression, it makes us so much better,” DeLong said of Yomba. “This guy never played varsity before this year so it’s kind of a learning experience for him too, but he’s doing great. He finished strong and led us the way he’s supposed to.”

“Willie is very unselfish, he wants to get the whole team involved so he tries to get everyone involved in the beginning,” Gallo said. “He does a lot of good things for us. He’s just very aggressive and a great basketball player.”

With the Cowboys trailing by 18 heading into the fourth quarter, senior Ryan Sloan came up with a defensive rebound and found a streaking Gallo for a layup. He stole the ball right after and found Gallo again, giving the Cowboys a boost of momentum.

Valencia’s size and ability to score on the fast break as well as its smothering defense was too much, however, as the Vikings pulled away to secure the double-digit victory.

The Vikings move to 17-4 overall and 5-0 in league play. They will face Saugus on Friday in a home tilt.

The Cowboys fall to 9-14 and 2-3 in league with a road game against West Ranch on the docket on Friday.

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