By Jonathan Andrade
For the Signal
Valencia High rattled off 22 unanswered points in the third quarter against Golden Valley Tuesday night at home to vault the Vikings to a 90-61 Foothill League victory.
“We really got on them at the half and challenged them to come out and give some intensity,” said Bill Bedgood, Valencia’s head basketball coach.
Valencia senior Noah Veluzat, who guided the Vikings (2-1 overall) with a triple-double of 25 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, said he and his teammates weren’t satisfied with a seven-point halftime lead after leading Golden Valley (0-3) by as many as 14 points in the first quarter.
“One thing that’s great about our team is that we can all take criticism from each other,” said Veluzat, the reigning Foothill League player of the year. “We adapt and we do better. That’s just the adjustment we made at half time.”
Valencia’s stingy defense held Golden Valley scoreless for the first six minutes of the second half. Grizzlies sophomore Jonathan Hakim finally stopped the bleeding with 1:16 left in the third quarter when he made a layup while drawing the foul, ultimately converting the three-point play.
“I thought we got good shots in the third,” said Golden Valley head coach Chris Printz. “They just didn’t go. Sometimes that happens, especially on the road.”
Golden Valley, which was powered by senior Luka Marich and his game-high 30 points, used a strong second quarter to draw within seven at the break.
“We were moving the ball and playing good defense,” Marich said of his team’s performance in the first half. “They (Valencia) just hit shots in the second half and we couldn’t respond with our own.”
Valencia senior Ryan Hoffman was hot from beyond the arc, nailing seven threes throughout his 25-point performance. Kai Davis, a sophomore who missed last season with an injury, chipped in 16 points. Freshman Zach Bauman sank a pair of threes late in the fourth quarter.
Veluzat had high praise for Bauman.
“He’s going to be a big-time player,” the senior said of the freshman. “He’ll be a Foothill League MVP by his junior year, and probably repeat (as a senior).”
Printz said he was proud to see the Grizzlies continue to battle despite the late deficit.
“Even at the end, they weren’t going to back down,” the coach said. “That’ll help build the foundation for success in the future…We can see the progress that’s been made already and where things are going. We’re proud of that.”
Golden Valley will try to pick up its first win of the season at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Saugus.
While Bedgood was pleased his team came away with the victory Tuesday night, he admits the Vikings have some room to grow if they plan on defending the Foothill crown.
“It’s just a matter of our guys understanding that every day we’re either getting better or we’re getting worse,” the coach said. “If we continue to get better every day, I think we’re going to be right in the mix.”
Valencia next plays host to Hart at 6:30 p.m. Friday.