In the second day at the Maranatha Summer Block Party Tournament, Valencia boys basketball faced off against Calabasas High School in the winner’s bracket at Maranatha High School on Wednesday.
Moving well without the ball and playing team defense, the Vikings held their own in the opening minutes of the game, but due to a lack of size down low coupled with Calabasas shooting lights out from deep, the Vikings fell 68-50.
“The game plan today was to get out on the shooters, switch screens, they do a good job of their half court motion offense, but we did a horrible job,” said Valencia head coach Bill Bedgood. “We didn’t execute on offense or defense. I feel like we have some internal things that the guys are working through that are spilling out onto the court that have to be worked out. We have to work harder in the summer.”
Junior Noah Veluzat led the Vikings in scoring with eight of his 15 points coming in the first half by getting inside the lane with his dribbling skills or knocking down the jumper.
“He’s coming along,” Bedgood said. “He is a kid that is very wise beyond his years and puts in a lot of work on his own. It’s just a matter of incorporating him more with the team because he can play the one or the two. He really loves to have the ball in his hands, but sometimes we kind of need him to score too. He has that versatility to play the one, two or three.”
Favour Princewill also contributed mightily with his energy, length and in-your-face defense, finishing with seven points.
“Favour has been a pleasant surprise,” Bedgood said. “He has been playing hard and his execution is going to get better, but I think effort-wise and energy he brings some passion to the floor. He plays bigger than his size with his long arms.”
Calabasas did a good job of setting the pace throughout the first half, turning defensive rebounds into fast break points trip after trip down the court, and with under 10 minutes to go in the half led 25-11.
Right before the half, Bedgood inserted Justin Neuman and Gabe Latkovich into the lineup. The pair were able to contribute right away as Neuman scored five quick points and Latkovich added a timely layup to cut the Coyotes lead to four points, down 30-26 heading into halftime.
“For him, he’s a shooter,” Bedgood said of Neuman. “You can never have too many shooters on your team and it’s good to bring in a guy off the bench that is going to get those open looks and who is confident taking them and knocking them down.”
Beginning the second half on a 10-4 run, Calabasas extended its first-half lead by knocking down 3-pointer after 3-pointer.
Valencia countered with Ryan Hoffman, who scored all eight of his point in the second half to keep the Vikings in the game.
Down double digits with under five minutes to go, Valencia couldn’t mount a comeback but will play again tomorrow.
“We get Jake (Hlywiak) back tomorrow so that will help us,” Bedgood said. “It’s just good to have some more senior leadership on the floor. We just have to play harder, they have to light that fire for themselves and I think that senior leadership will help with that.”