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Valley Christian sets up league title finale

Lions pummel Faith Christian early
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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Looking to set up a one game battle for the championship of the Sacramento Metro Athletic League, the Valley Christian Academy boys basketball team took care of business Tuesday night in Yuba City. Needing to beat Faith Christian to maintain the massive significance of Friday night's home game against league-leading Bradshaw Christian, the Lions did their thing early and coasted to an 84-43 victory. VCA outscored Faith Christian 32-7 in the initial period and tallied 61 points in the first half to lead by 42 points at the break. "The first half was the story of the game," said Valley Christian coach Brad Gunter. "We came out knowing that it was their senior night, and how important this game was to get us to the proper rematch we have wanted with Bradshaw Christian, and the boys answered the call." The Lions have been coming together as a team as the season has progressed, and the team that is currently sitting in the No. 4 position in the Division V power ratings used that to its advantage Tuesday. After taking its only league loss in a visit to Bradshaw three weeks ago, Valley Christian has been point towards this opportunity. "Teamwork was the key. We were communicating on defense and passing the ball to the open guy early," Gunter said. "I am so proud of the guys for staying focused throughout the second half of league and not looking past any opponent." Ryan Cordell scored 21 points to lead the way for the Lions. Rob Frank (16 points), Orest Shayhyuk (14) and Jason Gish (12) all scored in double figures as well. Next up for VCA (12-1 in the SMAL, 22-4 overall) is the game of the year as it prepares for a trip to the postseason. Bradshaw Christian (13-0, 20-6)is coming to Valley Christian's own senior night at 7:30 p.m. Friday night to close out the regular season. A Lion win gives them a league co-championship and an impressive seed heading into tournament play. "Now we can officially focus on the Bradshaw Christian," Gunter said. "It is going to be an exciting and difficult game on Friday, but it Is the type of game that kids will remember the rest of their lives. It is the match up between No. 1 and No. 4 and a share of the league title, which has been the constant goal all season.Regardless of the outcome on Friday night, I am really proud of my guys."