Vaughn outpaces East Valley at home
The 22-23 Vaughn White Tigers have been one of the better stories in the San Fernando Valley this season. Their 9-4 record represents the best start to a season in school history, highlighted by wins over league rival Northridge Academy, St. Genevieve, and North Hollywood. Heading into this contest against East Valley, Vaughn is in a prime position to accomplish something that has eluded them; win a Valley League championship. To make this dream a reality, the team would need to build on the 3-1 start to the league campaign and keep pace with VAAS and Northridge by beating East Valley. The White Tigers did just that in dominant fashion by a final score of 60-16 at home Thursday afternoon.
Vaughn hit the ground running in the first quarter dominating the action on both ends of the floor. Andrea and Hellen Cervantes carried the scoring load for the White Tigers in the period combining to score 12 points and dish out 6 assists. The team defense was also on display for Vaughn early on, limiting the Falcons ability to find easy baskets and disrupting the flow of their offense. Vaughn held East Valley to only 2 baskets in the first period on their way to building a 23-5 lead after the first quarter.
The second quarter saw much of the same defensive dominance for Vaughn, as the team tallied 5 steals in the period and contested every shot that East Valley attempted. On offense, Vaughn shared the wealth. Five different players added to the score sheet, while the team dished out 6 assists on the seven field goals. The White Tigers also unleashed their newest weapon in this game in junior Mariah Eulloqui. The forward was magnificent in the first half, scoring 13 points and adding 7 rebounds, on her way to posting a double-double for the first time this season. “We didn’t have Mariah when we faced some of our tougher opponents in the first part of the year,” said Vaughn head coach Israel Ortiz when speaking of Eulloqui’s impact on the team. “She is a really good player. She can be the difference for us when we face some of these tough teams down the stretch and into the playoffs.
The game was all but academic for Vaughn after the team took a 40-9 lead into the locker room at halftime. The team put together another dominant period in the third quarter, outscoring East Valley 16-2 in the third period of play. With such a sizeable lead, the running clock came into play in the fourth quarter, and the by the time the final horn blared, the White Tigers had a 44-point victory and had improved to 4-1 in the Valley League.
Andrea and Hellen Cervantes were standout performers all game long. The backcourt duo finished with a combined 28 points, 12 assists, 7 rebounds, 9 steals and a blocked shot. Despite coming up on the wrong end of a blowout, the combination of Katherine Orellana and Valeria Vega did their best to keep East Valley in the ballgame, posting a combined stat line of 16 points, 11 rebounds and 8 steals.
After starting the season 5-0, East Valley has struggled in league play, dropping four out of their last five games to fall to 6-4. They will try to get things turned around when they face Northridge Academy next Thursday afternoon. The Falcons fell to the Pumas 43-8 when the teams met back on December 5th. Vaughn will improve their record to 10-4 on the season after the victor. The White Tigers will take a detour away from league play to clash with Triumph Charter, the top team in the North Valley League before a matchup with league rival VAAS, who are the only team in league to have beaten Vaughn this season.