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Valencia Forces Saugus to Share

Girls' basketball: Vikings earn a tie for Foothill title by winning finale, 53-47.

February 09, 2001|DAVE DESMOND | TIMES STAFF WRITER

VALENCIA — Two teams, one goal, achieved by both.

The art of compromise is alive and well in the Foothill League, where hard-fought girls' basketball and parity reigns.

Valencia High's 53-47 victory over Saugus on Thursday night allowed the teams to share the league championship.

For Saugus (20-5, 7-3 in league play), it was the first title since the program began in 1977.

Valencia (20-6, 7-3) won the championship outright last season.

Since they play in different playoff divisions--Valencia in Southern Section Division I-AA and Saugus in I-A--both will go to the postseason as first-place teams and likely host first-round games Thursday.

"Sharing it with them is fine," Coach Jerry Mike of Valencia said. "They're a quality team."

There was no other option for the Vikings, ranked No. 6 in the region by The Times. A 78-68 overtime loss to then-fifth-place Canyon on Tuesday left Valencia a game back with one to play.

"We had to just forget about that," center Marissa Meadows said of the loss. "We just blocked it out and played hard."

Meadows, who scored only four points in a 44-39 loss to the Centurions on Jan. 19, had 14 points and 11 rebounds this time.

Stephanie Patterson had 13 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots, and Valerie Pina added 12 points for Valencia.

All three started on last season's championship team, but Tamaiya Smith did not.

Smith wasn't even on the team three weeks ago.

In her fifth varsity game, the freshman guard looked like a veteran, taking over with the game on the line.

She went coast to coast for a basket and a 48-46 Viking lead with 2:25 left. After Brusta Brown of Saugus made a free throw to cut the margin to one point, Smith answered with two free throws.

Valencia outscored the Centurions, ranked No. 7 in the region, 7-1, in the final 2 1/2 minutes.

"Over the last three minutes, they out-executed us," Coach Eric Olsson of Saugus said.

"That was the kind of game we usually win, an ugly, scratch-and-claw game."

The game saw 12 lead changes and six ties after Saugus climbed back from a 15-6 first-quarter deficit.

AnnMarie Summerhays scored 14 points, Jessi Loring had 13 points and eight rebounds, and Sheridan Arredondo added nine points and eight rebounds for Saugus.

The Centurions plan to have their first league title marked on a gymnasium banner by next week.

"We kind of wanted it for ourselves," Olsson said. "But I told Jerry I couldn't share it with a nicer guy."

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