Girls basketball: Spring Valley tops Blazers for 11th straight time

02/02/2013 12:34 AM

02/02/2013 12:48 AM

Spring Valley maintained dominance in Region 4-4A girls basketball, downing cross-town rival Ridge View 56-48 on Friday to earn the No. 1 conference seed in the upcoming state playoffs.

The fifth-ranked Vikings (17-4, 8-0) sport a 51-1 region record and have been a postseason No. 1 seed four times in five tries since Anne Long took charge of the program in 2008-09. It was the third win by Spring Valley against Ridge View this season and the 11th in a row in the series under Long.

“I’m proud of the job the girls and the coaches have done because we had a lot of inexperience at the beginning of the season,” Long said. “We’ll take what we have and see how far we can go with this.”

The Vikings established control in the first half, and withstood numerous Ridge View charges in the second half.

The move began with a 3-point field goal from the left wing by Cierra Carter that staked the Vikings to a 10-9 lead with three seconds to go in the first quarter. Spring Valley never trailed again. The Vikings built a 25-14 halftime lead thanks to a 15-5 run in the second quarter.

The host Blazers (14-8, 6-2) had a rough time in the opening 16 minutes, turning the ball over 18 times and shooting 17 percent from the field (3-for-18). But Ridge View started to find its range after the break and cut the lead to five points twice in the third quarter, and pulled within 45-41 on a 3-pointer by Alexus Jackson with 4:27 to go.

The Vikings, however, answered every challenge.

“We knew it was only a matter of time before Ridge View starting hitting those shots from the perimeter, but we were able to respond when things got close,” Long said. “We were shaky at times when Ridge View was making their move, but we did what we had to do when it counted.”

The biggest response was a driving three-point play by Megan Davis that upped the Spring Valley advantage to 49-41 with 3:24 remaining.

“We were right there, but Spring Valley made the plays when they had to,” Blazers coach Terrance Gibson said. “Basketball is all about making plays. We made some, but not quite enough.”

Carter led the Vikings with 19 points and six rebounds, and had solid backing from Akia Dunlap (14 points on 6-for-8 shooting), Davis (9 points), point guard Latisha Smith (7 points, 5 steals, 3 assists) and Raven Fleming (2 points, 8 rebounds).

Alexus Jackson sparked the Blazers’ second-half challenge, scoring 13 of her 15 points after intermission. The senior forward also grabbed nine rebounds. Jontay Mitchem and Briana Johnson backed Jackson with 14 and 10 points, respectively.

 SV: Akia Dunlap 14, Smith 7, Cierra Carter 19, Davis 9, Hill 5, Fleming 2. RV: Briana Johnson 15, Jontay Mitchum 14, Alexus Jackson 15, S. Johnson 6, Kelley 3.

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