The Valley College basketball team was a menagerie of personalities early this season.
Injuries and illnesses to key players made for some interesting lineup combinations and substitution patterns but didn't do much for consistency.
Valley players got healthy--and apparently got themselves together collectively--when they opened play in the Western State Conference two weeks ago.
Saturday night at Valley, the Monarchs stayed unbeaten in the WSC with an 82-69 victory over Glendale.
Valley improved to 13-8 overall and 4-0 in conference play.
The Monarchs, who on Wednesday snapped two-time defending conference champion Santa Monica's 29-game WSC win streak, now sit alone at the top of the Southern Division standings.
"They're playing as a team," Valley Coach Jim Stephens said of his players. "They've found themselves."
The Monarchs were in a tight game midway through the second half against Glendale when guard Andre Harrell spurred the run that put the game out of reach.
Harrell, a redshirt sophomore who played at Inglewood High and West Los Angeles College, scored seven of his 18 points during a 10-2 run that began with 8 minutes, 49 seconds left. The Monarchs led, 72-63, when they called timeout with 5:15 left and went into a spread offense that pared time off the clock and also seemed to sap Glendale of any comeback hope.
Glendale (14-8, 2-2), which had beaten College of the Canyons in overtime on Wednesday, found itself unable to hit the open shot down the stretch against Valley.
"You could tell that their will was a lot stronger to win the game than ours was," said Glendale forward David Swanson, who scored a game-high 20 points for the Vaqueros. "That's the first time that's happened to us in a long time."
Valley forward Steve Ward scored a game-high 27 points for the Monarchs. Forward Shawn DeLaittre added 11.
Bruce Heicke had 14 points for Glendale while Gary Fowler and Justin Lord added 13 and 10 points, respectively, for the Vaqueros.
Valley was down by nine points early in the first half when the Monarchs launched a 9-0 run that helped them to a 36-35 halftime lead.
Valley trailed, 21-12, when Ward hit a jump shot and Shelton Boykin followed with two baskets. Erik McDaniels' three-point shot tied the score, 21-21, with 10:20 left in the first half.
Glendale led, 35-32, with 2:03 left when DeLaittre made a basket and free throw for a three-point play.