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VCA attacks, smothers Lemons and Sac Country Day

Lions run to top of SMAL standings
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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Small gymnasiums filled with big excitement are often the story when the top teams of the Sacramento Metro Athletic League get together. On Saturday night, that scene played out at Sacramento Country Day High, where the Valley Christian Academy boys basketball team dominated the host team 87-51 in an unexpectedly lopsided contest. “The gymnasium, which seating capacity is smaller than ours, was standing room only,” said Valley Christian coach Brad Gunter. “In fact, people were standing in the outer hallway to watch the game. It was an amazing atmosphere.” It was billed as a clash of the titans with 14-2 Sac Country Day led by 6-foot-4 senior guard Robbie Lemons welcoming 14-3 VCA. Lemons is the leading scorer in the state, averaging more than 38 points per game, and has been recruited to play at Stanford next season. For the second time this season (the Lions also dominated Forest Lake Christian with UC Davis-bound Josh Ritchart) Valley Christian overwhelmed a heralded player with its team approach. “I know this sounds funny, but we held Lemons to 28 points (10 under his average),” Gunter said. “We had a man on Lemons everywhere he went and when he touched the ball a quick double-team followed. The young man is talented, and not a ball hog as some might perceive. He is one of the greatest team players I have ever seen.” “The best part of our defense was our anticipation out of scramble mode once Lemons passed the ball,” Gunter added. “Even with 4-on-3 situations in the half court, we seemed to contest every shot and take great angles to recover on their misses.” The Lions delivered another high-octane first half in which they tallied 50 points and led 50-24 at the break. Ryan Cordell, guarded all night long by Lemons, outscored the Cavalier star as he poured in 34 points. While Cordell stole the show offensively, it was the team effort on the backboards that really set the tone for Valley Christian. “The big story of the night was controlling the boards,” Gunter said. “Our six big men helped keep Sac Country Day off the glass all night, and limit them to one-and-done situations. We had a team total of 56 rebounds on the evening and I think that is a season high.” Eleven of Serge Lazersku’s 15 rebounds came at the offensive end for VCA, and Jesse Peters grabbed 12 boards. It was the usual running game that worked once again for the Lions, who put up 86 shots in the game. Point guard Stanley Winters dished out seven assists. “We used 14 players on the night and were in constant attack mode,” Gunter said. “Offensively we tried to run. I was hoping to tire their team out on both sides of the floor. Every time they made an adjustment on one of our players, the ball would quickly go to the mismatch on the floor and back to attack mode.” Sophomore Jason Gish had 16 points on the evening and was a huge match-up problem for the Cavaliers’ man-to-man defense. Valley Christian (5-0 in the SMAL, 15-3 overall) hosts Faith Christian of Yuba City Friday night before next week’s SMAL game of the week when the Lions travel to face defending section champion Bradshaw Christian.