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No looking ahead - Lions crush Lutheran

By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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With a loud roar, the Valley Christian Academy boys basketball team picked up its 20th win of the season on its home court Tuesday night. The Lions avoided the urge to look past Lutheran and took care of business 93-41. The score was 36-6 after one quarter, and 58-9 at intermission, and then VCA coasted the rest of the way home. "The old saying of taking it one game at a time proved true tonight," said VCA coach Brad Gunter. "With the last place team coming to our place on a Tuesday night, and a big game coming up on Friday against Sac Country Day, I was worried about the mindset of the players. I did not want to see them, at this time of season, come out flat and unmotivated. I was very, very wrong." The Lions dispatched with Lutheran quickly and then could feel free to look ahead to a matchup with the No. 1 scorer in the state, Robbie Lemons of Sac Country Day. "The coaching staff all year has asked the players to stay focused on the next game, and last night we saw that played out and executed early," Gunter said. The Lions did all they could to keep the score under control, but on this night everyone had their game on. "We pulled the full court press off four minutes into the game and shut down the half court traps after the first quarter," Gunter said. "The last three periods we stayed back in a 2-3 soft zone. Once again the players looked for the hot shooter or a closer look at the basket." Ryan Cordell scored 24 points to lead the way for Valley Christian. Jason Gish dropped in 14 points and Serge Lazaresku was also in double figures with 10. Rob Frank added nine and Aaron Perchaz scored eight points. "Right now it seems like we are starting to play as a team and peak at the right time. Friday night will be the big test to see if that is true," Gunter said. "Twelve of the 14 players that played scored." The Lions (8-1 in the SMAL, 20-4 overall) are currently the No. 3 rated team in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II power ratings, and are in good position to get a pair of home playoff games if they can win out. That will not be easy with Sac Country Day (currently No. 5) and top-rated Bradshaw Christian in town the following week. All of the news was not good for VCA this week. "We lost one of our bench players, Marcel Louis-Jacques, Monday night at practice," Gunter said. "He went down with a possible broken ankle. Right now he is in a boot and would not be cleared to play until Nor-Cal playoffs. He is telling us that we have to get there, because he doesn’t want to end his senior year on the bench." But all of that is still far off for the Lions as they play it game-by-game, with Robbie Lemons next up on the agenda.