Valley Gets Axed From State Playoffs by Sequoias
Not this time.
The Valley College men’s basketball team, known for its second-half resiliency, ran out of luck in a 96-95 loss to Sequoias in a semifinal game of the state championships Friday night at the University of the Pacific.
Sequoias (26-10) meets Porterville tonight at 8 in the final.
“I’ve got a group of kids who are crying their eyes out in [the locker room],” said Doug Michelson, Valley’s coach.
The Monarchs (27-9) had a chance to win, but a long, three-point shot by point guard Joe Bakhoum as time expired hit the rim and bounced off.
Valley trailed at halftime, 51-50, and 79-74 with 9:54 to play before rallying with a 10-0 run to move ahead, 84-79, just over four minutes later.
The advantage was 89-84 with 2:55 to play when the tide turned against the Monarchs, who were seeking their first championship game appearance.
But Valley turned over the ball on consecutive possessions and the Giants capitalized, pulling even on Damon Jackson’s three-point basket and E.G. Walden’s layup with 2:20 to play.
The Monarchs had trouble breaking Sequoia’s game-long full-court press and committed 23 turnovers.
“If we would have taken care of the ball when we went up by five, we would have been OK,” forward Issac Williamson said.
Valley’s Felix Lang had a chance to tie the score, 96-96, with six seconds remaining but missed the second of two free throws. The Monarchs got the ball back when it was hit out of bounds by Sequoias on the rebound, but Bakhoum’s shot just missed the mark.
"[The loss] is as hard as it comes,” Lang said.
Sequoias Coach George Tarkanian is trying to join his father, Jerry, as the coach of a state champion. Jerry, now the Fresno State coach, won state titles at Riverside from 1964-66 and at Pasadena in 1967.
“Who would have thought we’d be in the finals?” Tarkanian said.
The pace was fast, furious and physical from the start.
Neither team could pull away from the other, with Sequoias holding the biggest lead of the half, 46-38, with 2:37 remaining.
Lang, a sophomore guard, finished with a team-high 24 points and center Michael Crawford had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Monarchs. Williamson scored 10 points, Terrance Slater had 12 and Wayne Huff added 10.
In another semifinal game:
Porterville 75, Moorpark 67--The Raiders (27-8) rallied from a 35-27 halftime deficit to pull within 45-43 on a rebound by T.K. Reed with 13:28 to play, but Porterville (32-4) scored eight consecutive points, the final four on back-to-back dunks by Derrick Douglas and Curtis Washington, to pull away for good.
Moorpark guard Dan Galvanoni, the team’s top scorer and three-point specialist, was held scoreless. He missed his seven field-goal attempts and four three-point shots.
Forward Trevor Lorz led Moorpark with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Kenny Plummer had 15 points.
Ventura 62, Foothill 57--Renae Hofmann scored a game-high 17 points for No. 1 Ventura in the state semifinals at Delta College. Hofmann made a three-point basket and two free throws in the last three minutes to help Ventura (37-0) take the lead for the first time in the game.
Sandra Kaufold scored 12 of her 13 points in the second half. Ventura plays Shasta today at 5:30 for the championship. Shasta beat San Jose, 59-58, with a shot at the buzzer.
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At Spanos Center
At Delta College
San Jose 58
At Spanos Center
at 8 p.m.
at 5:30 p.m.