Lions hold opponent to 3 points in second half
Valley Christian Academy had one heck of a game Friday night, defeating Buckingham Charter 72-19 in a Sacramento Metro Athletic League contest. No joke. No misprint.
While the 53-point blowout may seem like a fairy tale, Valley Christian’s full-court press and 20 steals suffocated any offensive effort by the Knights (6-13, 1-7 SMAL).
There were exceptional performances for the Lions (19-3, 8-0) all over the court. Aaron Perchaz dominated the post to the tune of 10 points and five rebounds. Josh Flanagan came off the bench to score 10 points and make four steals. Point guard Joey Parker grabbed six steals and distributed four assists.
Leading the way for the Lions was 6-foot-3 left-handed shooting guard Jason Gish, who scored 22 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and matched Parker’s assist total of four. Gish camped in the left arc and waited to unleash his stroke. He was the main enforcer on fast breaks, flinging no-look passes and commanding the floor after snatching rebounds.
“The big key for us was communication,” Gish said. “That was the big thing that we were working on all practice. What helped us was that communication that brought us up, helping us know where that back door was, and shouting at our teammates so they would know.”
Lions coach Brad Gunter Jr. was impressed with the team’s early start and 47-16 halftime lead, which was missing in their first game against Buckingham Charter on Jan. 11 in Vacaville. In that game, Valley Christian scored four points in the second quarter and trailed by five at the half. The Lions would have a great run in the second half and win 77-38.
“Defense was the key for us, defensive pressure in the full court,” Gunter said. “This is the exact same team that we went to their place … and we were down by five at halftime. We had a 63-7 run in the second half to blow it away, but we worked real hard in our practices leading up to (Friday night) to make sure that our communication for the full-court press was dialed in.”
Valley Christian had eight steals in the first quarter to take a 25-8 lead. There were another seven steals in the second period.
Gunter called off the press in the second half, and Valley Christian performed even better in the half court. The Lions allowed just three points in the second half. Backup point guard Kevin Kobzeff had three steals in the second half.
Valley Christian 67, Buckingham Charter 40 – Carly Gish led the way for the Lady Lions (18-4, 8-0 SMAL) with 19 points in the first half and 35 total, her third consecutive 30-point game.
“We didn’t have many calls on our side, so we had to kind of play an outside game,” Gish said. “We had to shoot from the three-point line. We kept driving, but it wasn’t working.”