Valentine’s Day victory for boys’ basketball means CIF advancement

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Valentine’s Day victory for boys’ basketball means CIF advancement

Credit: Jason Messner / The Foothill Dragon Press

Credit: Jason Messner / The Foothill Dragon Press

Credit: Jason Messner / The Foothill Dragon Press

Credit: Jason Messner / The Foothill Dragon Press

Abby Sourwine

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Wednesday, Feb. 14th: a day to celebrate Saint Valentine, the start of Lent, and, of course, Foothill boys’ basketball. The Dragons kicked off this year’s California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) run with a 76-39 home win against Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles in the first round of the Division 5AA playoffs, giving the team even more cause for celebration on an already loaded holiday.

Cameron Strain '18 prepares to jump for the ball at tip off. Credit: Jason Messner / The Foothill Dragon Press

Cameron Strain ’18 prepares to jump for the ball at tip off. Credit: Jason Messner / The Foothill Dragon Press

From the tip off, the Dragons “came out with a lot of effort,” head coach Dean Prophet said, and the stats showed it. With shutdown defense, the starters earned a 16-0 lead in the first four and a half minutes, until the Lions finally hit a three to end the drought.

Cisco Lomax ‘18 started the scoring surge on the first play of the game, nailing a three from the corner off Jack Vielbig’s ‘19 pass. The very next play, Nate Bova ‘19 scored a three from the same spot.

After a few missed shot attempts for the Lions, Lomax dished it to Colin Vallance ‘18 for a layup, and the Dragons led by 8 after just two minutes of play. Vallance scored another layup a minute later to bring the score up to double digits.

With an assist by Lomax, Cameron Strain ‘18 hit a three pointer, and Vielbig was right behind him with a three point shot the next play

The clock showed three minutes and thirty seconds remaining in the first quarter when the Lions finally scored, changing the scoreboard from 16-0 to a more respectable 16-3.

 

 

However, the Dragons wouldn’t let up, and, with a three from Vielbig and a layup from Vallance, they crept into the twenties. Vielbig and Vallance each scored a layup in the next minute, expanding the lead.

Trey Jackson ‘18 finished off the quarter with two free throws and a buzzer beater three to put the Dragons up 32-7 at the end of the first

Jackson was proud of the way the team “came out and definitely executed what we wanted to,” and “dug them into a hole they couldn’t get out of.”

Despite Le Lycee’s improvements in the second quarter, Jackson was right. The Lions couldn’t come back from a 25 point deficit, and trailed by 28 at the half.

Just like the first quarter, the first score of the second was a corner three, this time from Nate Bova.

Vallance snagged an o-board put back shortly after, but that would put an end to the scoring on both ends until three minutes later, when Bodhi McDonald ‘20 hit a floater in the key.

Le Lycee didn’t score until there were just two minutes left in the second quarter, when they hit back to back layups and reached double figures.

For the Dragons, a three from Jagger Dadigan ‘19 put them into the forties. But the Lions weren’t done. They scored three layups in a row to keep the competition alive. To finish the quarter, Sam Bova ‘19 hit Sam Shinsky ‘20 for a layup, and the Dragons led 44-16.

 

 

When playing with a comfortable lead, Vallance keeps his team motivated by trying to “keep the energy up, celebrate all the little victories.”

The third quarter brought an onslaught of these little victories, starting with a short corner jumper for Nate Bova and continued by Strain’s drive for a layup a minute later.

Vallance himself hit a mid range shot to bring the Dragons up to 50 points. He got a steal and a layup right after to reinforce it.

Nate Bova stepped it up the next minute with back-to-back threes from the wing and a two-footer, raising the score to 60.

Le Lycee scored eleven points in the third, an improvement from their first two, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Dragons, who played well in many areas

“We ran the court pretty well, we didn’t have too many turnovers early in the game, we shared the ball pretty well, and I think most of our shots that we made were uncontested,” Prophet said.

The trend continued in the fourth quarter, with the Dragons scoring left and right.

Le Lycee scored the first points of the quarter, but any hope of a comeback was quickly squandered by McDonald, who made a floater a minute later.

 

 

Ty Macias ‘20 made his contribution with a face-up jumper at the elbow.

Iak Wright '19 goes up for a layup on a fast break. Credit: Jason Messner / The Foothill Dragon Press

Iak Wright ’19 goes up for a layup on a fast break. Credit: Jason Messner / The Foothill Dragon Press

Sam Bova then hit Shinsky for a layup, and scored two free throws after getting fouled on a layup of his own. Adding a steal and a fast break layup, Sam Bova’s efforts increased the score to 72-37.

Two more steals for layups came in the next minute, one by Iak Wright ‘19 and one by Andrew Manley ‘19 and Macias together.

These would be the last points scored for the Dragons, but it’s all they needed and then some.

A short corner jumper for Le Lycee meant the Dragons could pass around and wait out the clock, a comfortable way to start their CIF run.

With the 76-39 win, their focus shifts to the long road ahead, paved with tough competition.

Prophet feels that “the competition’s going to be a little stiffer now so we’re going to have to make some adjustments” moving forward. “As far as we go,” he said “we’re going to try and play offensively the same way, but defensively we’ve got to lock things down a little tighter.

This will be especially important in their next game against Big Bear, a team with four players averaging double figures.

They’ll face Big Bear on Friday, Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. in the Ventura College gymnasium.

 

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