Saint Francis Completes Sweep of Valley Christian (Basketball Boys Home Page)
By: By SCOTT LARSON PrepSportsDOK.com
Posted January 27
The Saint Francis Lancers (12-6 overall, 5-3 in the WCAL) defeated the home Valley Christian Warriors (10-8, 1-7), 60-55, to sweep the season series. The Lancers battled off a cold streak in parts of the third and fourth quarters to win the game versus the struggling Warriors. Turnovers fueled the Lancers throughout the game as the Warriors tried to pull away.
The Warriors started off quick, forging a 10-point lead before Saint Francis even scored a basket. However midway through the first quarter, Valley Christian started making errors and turning over the ball. Quickly, the score was close once again and the quarter ended tied at 13. Saint Francis junior guard Khalil Johnson was instrumental in the fast break scores and ended up scoring seven of his 12 points in the first quarter. The first quarter showed right away it was going to be a battle in the paint between Saint Francis senior center Drew Dickey and Valley Christian senior center Cameron Stewart, both of whom are listed at 6-foot-9. In the first quarter Valley Christian and Stewart won the battle in the paint.
“We got on the same page and our defense stepped up and started fueling the offense” said Saint Francis junior guard Jarod Diaz.
The game stayed close in the second quarter as each team responded with points after the other. At one point the Lancers opened the game up getting a five-point lead, but it was quickly closed and the Lancers settled for a 32-30 halftime lead. Again it was a tough quarter in the paint as Dickey and Stewart jockeyed for position inside. The Lancers really spread out their scoring in the second quarter with six players getting points. Khalil Johnson led his team at half with 12 points and was tied with Warriors sophomore guard Jay MacIntyre at half.
In the third quarter Valley Christian began to gain momentum once again. The Lancers then moved into a higher press defense and picked up the intensity of the defense and forced turnovers. The Lancers pressed a lot, and this ended up helping them keep close as they forced turnovers. The Warriors ended the quarter with a 43-40 lead over the Lancers and were on a pretty good run which they hoped to continue. The scoring in the quarter was small, 21 points total between both teams, but as the half went on the intensity began to pick up.
“We talked about competing, needing to change the defense and pick up the intensity for the defense to create the offense,” said Saint Francis head coach Mike Motil.
The fourth quarter was basically Saint Francis breaking down the Warriors. The Lancers continued to press and eventually tired out the Warriors. However junior guard Khalid Johnson got into foul trouble for the Lancers, picking up his fourth foul, which pushed him to the bench. However, when it came to the end of the game Khalid Johnson was back out there and ended up sealing the victory by making 3-of-4 free throws in the final minute as the Warriors fouled to try and get back into the game. Khalid and Khalil Johnson led the Lancers with 12 points apiece.
The Lancers will play Serra (6-1) at Saint Francis on Saturday (7:30 pm). Valley Christian will play at Archbishop Riordan (2-5), also on Saturday (7:30 pm). The Warriors are looking to build on their season and get off from the bottom of the West Catholic League standings.