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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW : Valley Christian boys basketball earns first league win, Lady Defenders come close to theirs

By Loren Kopff

@LorenKopff on Twitter


It’s been a long season for the Valley Christian High boys basketball team, having just one returning member of a 10-player squad. It’s been even a longer season for the girls basketball team, which has won just three games since Nov. 20.

The two hosted Whittier Christian High this past Tuesday evening with a chance for a doubleheader sweep, and opportunities to stay in the hunt for an automatic berth in the CIF-Southern Section playoffs, which begins in less than a month. While the boys picked up a convincing win, the girls nearly upset a squad that is ranked second in Division 3AA.

The Defenders allowed just two points in the first quarter and went on to crush the Heralds 68-38, improving their record to 8-9 overall and 1-2 in the Olympic League. Four starters combined to shoot 50 percent from the field in the first quarter, one that saw V.C. race to a 21-2 lead. By the time it was halftime, a 42-13 advantage, freshman Nathan Medina had scored 15 points while sophomore Denzel Williams had added 13 more. The Defenders led as much as 33 points late in the first half and by 40 points with 6:11 left in the game, the time when the running clock was put in place.

Medina led everyone with 20 points, the fifth time this season he has reached 20 points while junior Malvin Payero added 18 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals. Williams finished with 17 points and five rebounds and senior Christian Bozanic pitched in with nine points and seven boards.

Prior to the game, it was a pure defensive effort by the V.C. and Whittier Christian girls. But five different shooting droughts by the Lady Defenders cost them a chance to snap a four-game losing skid and they fell to the Heralds 34-28. V.C. saw its mark drop to 5-16, 0-3.

After junior Kathryn Tamminga scored the first basket of the game 31 seconds in, the hosts wouldn’t score again until 37.4 seconds remaining in the stanza. Between baskets, V.C. missed nine straight shots.

It would go through a stretch of 6:45 without a field goal in the second, 6:10 in the third without a basket and two different stretches totaling 5:42 in the fourth without a point, except for three free throws. Meanwhile, Whittier Christian was holding on to a 5-4 lead after the first quarter and had a 12-7 halftime lead.

In the third, the visitors began to pull away as the Lady Defenders didn’t score their first field goal until the 1:50 mark when senior Jenna Robison scored her only points of the game. That made it a 19-14 contest. But in the final quarter, V.C. was unable to get its deficit under five points.

Sophomore Jordan Ebalo led V.C. with nine points while senior Ariel Gordon grabbed 10 rebounds and had three steals. The Lady Defenders shot 17 percent from the field but had 39 rebounds while Whittier Christian shot 21 percent from the field.

Both V.C. teams will visit Maranatha High on Tuesday, closing out the first half of league play, and host Heritage Christian High on Thursday. In addition, the boys entertained the Academy of Sports Science on Jan. 10 and will be home to Los Angeles Alliance High tonight.


First place in the 605 League will be on the line when Artesia High hosts Cerritos High tonight. The Pioneers, who knocked off John Glenn High this past Tuesday 63-50, is 13-8 overall and 3-0 in the circuit while Cerritos, a 48-40 victim to Pioneer High this past Tuesday, is 9-11, 2-1. Artesia will then host Pioneer on Tuesday while the Dons visit Oxford Academy.

Meanwhile, Glenn continues to go through the doldrums as its on a nine-game losing streak as it hosts Oxford Academy tonight. Glenn was won twice this season and is winless is league action. The Eagles will also travel to Whitney High on Tuesday in a battle to stay out of last place. The Wildcats are 4-16, 0-3 and will visit Pioneer tonight.

Norwalk High kicked off Suburban League action this past Tuesday and fell to La Mirada High 55-44. The Lancers (10-10, 0-1) will visit Bellflower High tonight and will entertain Mayfair High on Monday before meeting La Mirada again on Wednesday.


The top game of the upcoming week will be on Tuesday when Cerritos visits Oxford Academy with a chance to tie the Lady Patriots for first place. The Lady Dons will take a 9-11, 2-1 record into tonight’s road game at Artesia (12-9, 0-3). Oxford Academy is the lone undefeated team in 605 League competition. Cerritos is ranked eighth in Division 4AA while Oxford Academy is No. 7 in Division 2A. In addition, Cerritos will visit Orange Lutheran High on Saturday.

Whitney, ranked fifth in Division 4AA, brings a 15-5, 2-1 mark into tonight’s game at Pioneer while Glenn improved to 7-14, 1-2 after knocking off Artesia 42-41 this past Tuesday.

Norwalk got past La Mirada 40-38 this past Tuesday to win its Suburban League opener and improve to 9-8 overall.


Artesia, ranked second in Division 3, is the top team in the 605 League, sporting an overall record of 10-1-2 and 3-0 in league. The Pioneers have given up 11 goals, but five in their last nine contests. They will visit Cerritos today and Pioneer on Tuesday, the latter with first place on the line.

Cerritos is 5-7-2 and 1-1-1 after tying Pioneer 1-1 this past Tuesday while Gahr is 0-6-2 overall and 0-2-1 in the San Gabriel Valley League following a 1-1 tie against Warren High this past Tuesday. The Gladiators hosted Paramount High on Jan. 10 and will visit Downey High on Tuesday before going to Dominguez High on Thursday.

Norwalk, the top-ranked team in Division 4, blanked La Mirada 2-0 this past Tuesday in its Suburban League opener to improve to 11-0-1 overall. The Lancers will travel to Bellflower on Friday and will host Mayfair and La Mirada on Monday and Wednesday respectively.

Valley Christian has won its first three Olympic League games and is 10-3 overall. The Defenders will host Maranatha on Tuesday and visit Heritage Christian on Thursday.


The marquee game of the upcoming week takes place tonight when Artesia hosts Cerritos. Both teams are 3-0 in 6-5 League action with the Lady Pioneers at 7-3-4 and winners of six straight games while Cerritos is 9-2-4 and has won four straight contests, all of them shutouts. Both teams have outscored their opponents by a combined 104-28. Artesia will also host Pioneer on Tuesday while the Lady Dons go to Oxford Academy on Tuesday.

Gahr was nipped by Warren 2-1 this past Tuesday for its first loss in three games of SGVL action. The Lady Gladiators, who took a 5-6-2 mark into their road game at Paramount on Jan. 10, will host Downey on Tuesday and Dominguez on Thursday.

Valley Christian improved to 11-5 overall and 2-0 in the Olympic League after blasting Whittier Christian 10-0 this past Tuesday evening. The Lady Defenders will visit Maranatha on Tuesday and host Heritage Christian on Thursday.