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Valley Christian runs on all cylinders in final tuneup

Lions, ranked sixth in NorCal DV rankings, open SMAL play Jan. 7 against Country Day
By: Robbie Enos/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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Playing with a tempo faster than the Millennium Falcon, the Valley Christian boys basketball squad was too much to handle for visiting Woodland Christian in a 71-42 victory for the Lions on Thursday night.

Valley Christian’s full-court press produced 24 steals and suffocated any offensive effort by Woodland Christian.

The offense of coach Brad Gunter Jr. utilized a deep rotation, as seven Lions had at least one assist and 11 players scored. Valley Christian got off to a sloppy start and trailed 19-16 after the first quarter but found its rhythm in the second.

“We’re going to press the entire game and get you in the fourth quarter,” Gunter said. “I play 10 or 11 guys, so the goal is to get your legs out from underneath you, and then in the fourth quarter use our size.”

Gunter felt the win was important after a disappointing 78-65 loss to Brookside Christian on Tuesday. The game was a whirlpool of frustration, as the Lions were 4 for 14 from the free-throw line and Brookside nailed 10 three-pointers.

“Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong,” Gunter said. “We had a nice, long three-hour practice (Wednesday), so it was big for us to come back and win. I was more concerned about our effort after the long practice, but our effort was there.”

Valley Christian is ranked sixth in Division V in Northern California by norcalpreps.com. Gunter said the team doesn’t feel pressure following an exceptional team last season, which was 25-6 overall and 13-1 in the Sacramento Metro Athletic League.

“Last year when we made the playoffs, the pressure sort of came off,” he said. “We won our first league title, and that was sort of the pressure right there. This year, there really hasn’t been. It’s now what our expectations are versus what pressure is on us.”

The Lions (11-3) open league play at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 7, at home against Country Day. Gunter said he plans to use the same defensive strategy throughout the season, applying full-court pressure and forcing mistakes.

Offensively, he wants to see a continued fast pace. Jason Gish led the Lions with 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Gish jumpstarted the offense in the second quarter with a behind-the-back pass to Josh Flanagan on a fast break for one of his four assists.

“We want to run,” Gunter said. “On the fast breaks, we want our guards to score, and as soon as we get stopped, we gotta start using our bigs. Then, if we can use our bigs when we get stopped, then we have an inside-outside advantage.”

Valley Christian 71, Woodland Christian 42
Woodland Christian (42)

Milton 2 0-3 5, Morgan 1 1-2 3, Trongo 4 0-2 8, Miller 6 0-1 15, Ayala 1 0-0 2, Weimer 2 1-1 5, Canevari 1 2-2 4. Totals 17 4-11 42.
Valley Christian (71)
Gish 7 1-3 17, Perchaz 1 0-0 2, Peters 1 0-2 2, Parker 1 4-6 6, DeFiebre 3 0-0 6, Kobzeff 5 0-0 12, Flanagan 4 0-0 10, Tyller 4 0-3 8, Ellis 1 2-2 4, J. Bowden 1 0-2 2, Lazaresku 1 0-0 2, Flood 0 0-3 0. Totals 29 7-21 71.

Woodland Christian  19   6   7 10 – 42
Valley Christian         16 19 25 11 – 71


Three-point field goals – Woodland Christian 4 (Miller 3, Milton 1), Valley Christian 6 (Flanagan 2, Gish 2, Kobzeff 2). Rebounds – Woodland Christian 35 (Milton 9, Trongo 7, Morgan 6, Ayala 5, Miller 3, Weimer 2, Canevari 2, Hughes 1), Valley Christian 58 (Tyller 12, Peters 10, Gish 10, Perchaz 5, DeFiebre 4, Ellis 4, Ellis 3, Kobzeff 2, Lazaresku 2, J. Bowden 2, Flanagan 2, Hagerty 1, Parker 1). Assists – Woodland Christian 7 (Milton 4, Morgan 1, Canevari 1, Trongo 1), Valley Christian 13 (Gish 4, Parker 4, Ellis 1, Hagerty 1, Kobzeff 1, Tyller 1, Flanagan 1). Steals – Woodland Christian 13 (Milton 5, Morgan 3, Trongo 2, Miller 2, Ayala 1), Valley Christian 24 (Kobzeff 6, DeFiebre 4, Gish 3, Parker 3, Flanagan 2, Peters 2, Tyller 2, Ellis 1, Perchaz 1).