The Valencia High School girls’ basketball team knows what a day late and a dollar short really means.
Thursday night, host San Diego Vista caught Valencia flatfooted in the Southern California Regional Division II girls’ semifinal, defeating the Tigers, 59-38.
Top-seeded Vista (28-3) advanced to Saturday’s final at the Los Angeles Sports Arena against Katella, a 50-43 winner Thursday over Pasadena Muir. Valencia finished 21-10.
“We surprised a lot of teams with our running game,” Vista Coach Joe DeMaria said. “We were making them look pretty bad in the first half. They weren’t expecting us to run so well, and it took them too long to adjust to us.”
After falling behind, 36-13, at halftime, Valencia managed to outscore Vista, 25-23, in the second half by switching to the man-to-man defense it had relied on all season.
“I didn’t expect them to play such good man-to-man defense,” Vista center Chris Enger said.
The switch, coupled with foul trouble for Enger--she had four with 6:15 left--enabled the Tigers to get some momentum going and pull to within 14 with 5:13 remaining in the third. But the game was never really in doubt.
Valencia Coach Debi Woelke questioned her tactic of playing a foreign defense early in the game.
“We practiced with the zone for one day,” Woelke said, “but it just wasn’t successful today. In the second half, after we made the switch, we played even with them.”
Enger, after her 43-point performance against Canyon on Tuesday, finished with a game-high 23 points. Kelli Schott and Dana Christofferson added 17 and 14.
Kristen McDonald led Valencia with 20 points, but its second-leading scorer, Nancy Amarosa, was held to one fourth-quarter three-pointer.