Poly outpaces Verdugo Hills at The Cage

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In a matchup between the two teams who expect to win the East Valley League this season, the Poly Parrots landed the first blow at home, beating the Dons 67-43. The Dynamic backcourt duo of Heart and Hannah Angel Lising combined for 41 points for the Parrots, while Verdugo Hills senior guard Nicole Vanegas poured in 20 points for the Dons in a losing effort.

Poly wasted no time getting their offense in gear in the first quarter, outscoring the Dons 27-13 in the period. Heart Angel Lising led the way for the Parrots, putting up 11 points on 5-8 shooting. Where Lising shined shooting the ball, the Dons struggled to make shots in the opening frame, going 4-14 from the floor as a team. What kept the score from getting out of hand for Verdugo Hills, was the dominant play on the interior by Morriah Mbachu, who pulled down 8 rebounds in the period, on her way to a game-high 19 rebounds.

In the second quarter it was Hannah Angel Lising took her turn sparking the offense for Poly, scoring 8 of the team’s 18 points in the second quarter, while shooting 4-8 from the field. The Lising twins also did it on the defensive end of the floor as well, combining for three steals in the first half, helping Poly carry a 45-22 lead into halftime.

Heart (2) and Hannah (3) Angel Lising made it difficult for Verdugo Hills on both ends of the floor in the Parrots 67-43 victory.

In the second half the Parrots made an adjustment to sure up the one area of the game they could not dominate in the first half. Verdugo Hill’s Mbachu is one of the fiercest paint protectors in all the Valley, and this contest was no different. She was unstoppable in the first half, grabbing rebounds and changing shots at the rim on the defensive end. Senior forward/center Sofia Cruz became the catalyst for the Parrots offense, handling the ball at the top of the key, which in turn forced Mbachu to vacate the painted area of the floor and guard her on the perimeter. It allowed the undersized Parrots to be able to find easier looks at the basket and the ability to gain second shot opportunities. “She is a difference maker for us with her ability to be that third ball handler in these kinds of games,” said Poly Head Coach Tremeka Batiste on her senior center’s versatility. “If we can force our opponent’s bigs to have to guard away from the basket, it makes it that much harder to defend us.”

While the Lising twins are going to get much of the credit, it was the excellent play of the Parrots role players who helped the Parrots pull away from the three-time defending city champs. Cruz poured in 9 points, while adding in 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Freshman guard Audrey Flores also took advantage of opportunities when they presented themselves, adding 9 points of her own. “It’s beautiful to watch our offense when everyone is contributing,” said Batiste. “We know we can beat anyone when we play a complete team game like this.”

The Parrots improved to 5-1 with the victory and will look to continue to establish themselves as the class of the East Valley when they take on fierce league rival, Arleta at The Cage on Wednesday afternoon. Verdugo Hills will fall to 9-3 overall and 2-1 in the East Valley after the defeat. They will have the chance to get back on the winning track when the West Valley’s Taft Toreadors pay a visit to The Barn for a non-league contest on Thursday afternoon.

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