Vaughn takes down Northridge Academy on Senior Night

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Andrea Cervantes (#5 white) scored 13 points in the victory over Northridge Academy

The Vaughn White Tigers have often been the bridesmaid and never the bride when speaking in terms of their history of finishes in Valley League play. On a night when the school honored the seniors who have helped build the program to a contender, Vaughn had an opportunity to knock off the team that has held the Valley League in a vice grip for years in the Northridge Academy Pumas. It was an opportunity the team would not squander, as they took down their rivals 46-35.

Both teams came out of the gate firing from deep, with the two teams combining to knock down five three-pointers in the first quarter. The teams traded the lead in the early portion of the contest, but it was Vaughn who held a slight 10-9 advantage at the end of the first period of play.

The turning point of the contest came in the second quarter when Vaughn turned up the dial on the defensive end of the floor, holding the Pumas to just 7 points on two made field goals for the entire period of play. The White Tigers disrupted the flow of the Northridge Academy offense and shut down any opportunities for the Pumas to find open perimeter shots. On the offensive end, junior guard Yamileth Ferreira was the catalyst for Vaughn, dishing out four assists in the quarter while adding a basket of her own. “I was really happy with how she played today, she was a great leader on the floor,” said Vaughn head coach Israel Ortiz on his point guard's performance. “She can do that for us every night, and in this game, she came up big for the team. I’m proud of her.” The White Tigers continued to stay hot from outside in the period as Helen and Andrea Cervantes combined to knock down three long-range shots to help extend the lead to 27-16 at halftime.

Helen Cervantes (#15) led all scorers in the contest with 18 points in the victory over Northridge Academy.

At the start of the second half, the Pumas were much sharper on the defensive end, but they could not find the range from the outside to close the gap on the scoreboard. Whenever Northridge Academy would convert to trim the margin, The White Tigers would respond in earnest. By the end of a low-scoring third period, Vaughn had a 12-point lead going into the final eight minutes. In the fourth quarter, the teams continued to play each other evenly with neither team able to get a run of points to either blow the game open or in Northridge’s case, try to close the gap and win the game. The Cervantes sisters made an impact on the defensive end to close out the contest, tallying 5 steals combined in the final quarter. When the final horn blared, the Vaughn White Tigers had taken the rematch against Northridge Academy and had firmly placed themselves in the driver’s seat for the first League championship in school history.

It was a bitter defeat for the Pumas, who will find themselves out of first place with the loss and will need things to break their way if they hope to continue their reign as defending league champions. “There are no excuses from us, all credit goes to Vaughn and how they played tonight,” said Northridge Academy head coach Kevin Chen after the loss. “To beat a quality team like them you have to take advantage of your opportunities and make shots, and tonight they did a much better job of that than we did.”

The work is not over for the White Tigers, as they will have two days to relish their win before getting back to the business of finishing the race for their first Valley title. They can move a step closer to making it a reality when they face SOCES on the road Thursday afternoon. The Pumas will also have a few days to regroup before they look to get back on the winning track when they face Fulton at home Thursday afternoon.

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