Valley Catholic improves to 5-0 in West Valley League competition
BEAVERTON - The margin between the top and bottom of the West Valley League standings is a wide one indeed.
Valley Catholic proved as much Monday, blowing past Horizon Christian 64-20 to improve to 5-0 in league play and 12-2 overall. The Valiants jumped ahead 18-2 five minutes into the game and cruised to the victory at Valley Catholic High School behind 18 points from senior post Lisa Gallinat and 13 from sophomore forward Jeni Picken.
The Hawks, a second-year school playing their first season in the West Valley League, were no match for Valley Catholic's press defense and the inside presence of Gallinat and Picken, each of which equaled Horizon Christian with 12 first-half points.
'We still like to press but we're not extremely deep so we can't use it all four quarters,' Valley Catholic coach John Innes said. 'We do it in spurts and try to keep teams off guard.'
Having lost many of its guards to graduation and Jena Sepich to a season-ending injury, the Valiants have instead turned to the inside game this season.
'It's a change for us after losing all the smaller athletes,' Innes said. 'This year we're trying to take advantage of our size. They're all pretty good inside and the league's not particularly big.'
The Valiants started fast with Gallinat sending the opening tip to junior guard Johanna Crisman, who quickly passed to sophomore guard Emily Anctil for a layin. The Hawks' Stacy Roberts scored two of her team-high eight points to make it 4-2 but Horizon Christian was held scoreless for more than five minutes and VC pulled away with a 14-0 run.
Anctil started the spurt with a steal off the press for a breakaway layin. Gallinat (6-foot-1), Picken (5-11) and senior post Kate Emery (5-11) each added four points in the run, taking advantage inside against an undersized Hawks team.
'The more times we get the ball into our taller players, the better chance we have,' Innes said.
Valley Catholic's press forced 10 turnovers in the first quarter, seven in the game's first four minutes, before backing off after building a 20-point lead by the end of the first quarter. Picken found Gallinat inside twice in the final minute and each player finished the opening frame with eight points to the Hawks' six as a team.
The Valiants continued to pull away in the second quarter with an 8-0 run capped when Crisman found an open Picken on the right side for a field goal to make it 34-8.
Valley Catholic shot 53 percent (19 of 36) from the floor in the first half, while Horizon Christian was just 5 of 27 (19 percent) and finished 0 of 15 behind the 3-point arc in the game. The Hawks, who fell to 0-5 in league play and 0-10 overall, missed all 11 field goal attempts in a scoreless third quarter when the Valiants ran off 12 unanswered points for a 52-12 lead.
Crisman swished a 3-pointer on the top of the arc and Gallinat had the final six points of the frame before watching the final quarter from the bench. Eleven different players scored in the game for the Valiants with Emery adding eight points and Anctil finishing with six.
Valley Catholic hosts Westside Christian (7-2, 4-0 in league) on Friday with first place in the West Valley League on the line then travels to Dayton on Monday and Gervais on Wednesday.