Valencia boys basketball ends playoff run against Damien

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Valencia boys basketball lost to Damien, 84-76, at Damien High School on Tuesday.

“It was a tough one. We had a lead with about two minutes to go and we let it slip through our fingers,” said Valencia head coach Bill Bedgood via phone call. “It was a good effort. The guys played hard. I thought the represented the valley really well tonight.”

Despite an eight-point loss, the Vikings brought it on the court and have impressive numbers to show for it. Senior Jake Hlywiak led the team with 22 points, 18 of which came from beyond the arch.

Noah Veluzat was another leader for the team. Playing through a sprained ankle, he managed to tally 19 points, six assists and eight rebounds.

“They gave us a chance to win,” Bedgood said. “You’ve got to have your top guys out to perform. I thought our guys brought it. Jake had six threes tonight and finished with 22 points. (Noah) played a complete game. (He) did a little bit of everything like he did all year.”

Where they struggled was in the late stages of defensive plays. The Vikings ran a tough defense but failed to collect rebounds, which ended up being their downfall.

Bedgood had a great team under his helm this year as the Vikings ended the season with a 24-6 record and their second straight league title.

“I feel special about every team I’ve coached, but this team was such a pleasure to coach,” Bedgood said. “They were so easy to work with and so supportive of each other and the staff. I just appreciate them, man.”

With their season over, the Vikings have next year to look forward to. They will be losing a lot of seniors but expect younger players to step up and fill some big shoes.

“I’m going to really miss the senior class,” Bedgood said. “This senior class was one of the best. I think we have a lot of juniors and sophomore on this team that are poised and ready to fill in the shoes of these seniors. I think the future is really bright for us. I don’t see any letdown or dip from where we’re at.”

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