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VALLEY/VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Hart Makes Valencia Turn Blue With Loss

Foothill: Indians win 33rd consecutive league game, 43-29, to knock Vikings out of tie for first.

January 24, 1998|MIKE BRESNAHAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

VALENCIA — It was the biggest game in their school's young history, but in the end, the Women in Purple looked a little blue.

The Valencia High girls' basketball team connected on only 12 of 57 shots and became the latest would-be challenger to fall to Hart, which won its 33rd consecutive Foothill League game, 43-29, Friday night at Valencia.

The Indians, ranked No. 3 in the region by The Times, were by no means astounding, but had enough to offset 26 turnovers caused by Valencia's pressure defense.

Forward Melissa Harrison posted her usual double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds) for the Indians (15-2, 5-0 in league play), who have won 56 of their past 57 league games and knocked Valencia (15-5, 4-1) out of a tie for first place.

"Our coach is always talking about how long he's been a part of the streak," Harrison said. "I don't think anyone on the team feels like we're going to lose it."

Harrison received help from center Briana Kentfield, who scored 13 points, including a turnaround jumper with under a minute left in the first half that put Hart up, 17-12.

The Vikings, who market themselves as the 'Women in Purple' in a takeoff of the hit movie 'Men in Black,' never got closer, though they did whittle away a 32-20 Hart lead early in the fourth quarter.

Tiffany Morgan, who had 12 points off the bench, and Kiara Williams turned halfcourt steals into easy lay-ins on consecutive possessions to bring the Vikings within 32-25 with 5:26 left.

But Jacy Elm scored on a dribble drive and Harrison hit two consecutive shots down low to put Hart up by 13, 38-25.

"I thought we were a basket and a turnover from taking it down to the wire," said Valencia Coach Greg Hayes, whose team, playing its third season of varsity, made five of 30 shots (16.7%) in the first half.

"I give their defense credit, but we've struggled in shooting the last couple of games and it carried over."

It only gets easier for Hart which, because of a scheduling quirk, plays its final five league games at home after playing its first five on the road.

"We beat everybody on the road, so there's no reason we shouldn't beat them in our gym," Hart Coach Dave Munroe said.

Turnovers were a concern for the Indians.

"Too many of them," Harrison said. "A lot of passes were forced."

The Indians did manage to find the basket when they were able to create a shot, making 16 of 31 (51.6%) from the floor.

The chores get significantly tougher for Valencia, which must play at Canyon, at Burroughs and at Hart in the second round of league play.

The Vikings, ranked No. 10 in the region, didn't have a bad first round for a team that went 0-10 and 4-6 in the past two seasons in league.

But Hayes wanted nothing to do with the past.

"I feel like we've been a good team for a while," he said. "We don't harp on [the past] anymore. To us, that's an old story."

Besides Morgan, no other player finished with double figures in scoring for Valencia.

Williams scored five points on two-of-13 shooting.

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