The night began with Valley Christian Academy’s Lindsay Mikkelson scoring in less than five seconds following the opening tip – becoming the first of all 10 Lions to score.
Then the evening ended with the Lions celebrating a 59-19 romp of Coast Valley League rival Maricopa at home on Friday night in girls basketball action.
The victory upped the Lions’ record to 14-6 overall and 9-3 in the CVL standings.
But the two things head coach Randy Stanford gleamed about on this night: The fast start in the first quarter which saw VCA go up 21-3 to all 10 of his players filling the stat sheet.
“That first quarter was probably the best first quarter we’ve played all year,” Stanford said. “I was very happy with the way we played. Then everybody got a lot of playing time tonight and every kid who played scored – which is always good.”
Regarding the opening tip and scoring right away, Stanford says that quick-scoring act is something that isn’t uncommon for the Lions. It’s actually a habit they practice inside their home gym.
“That’s routine for us. That’s a set play. If we get the tip, we usually score off of it,” Stanford said. “Lindsey has been real consistent on that.”
Following the tip, the Lions went back to their spread-the-ball approach and attacked inside for their points.
Grace Cose became the next VCA player to score with less than a minute that passed by at the start of the first. Jenna Mason followed with her two-point try that made it 6-0 in favor of the Lions. Mikkelson then drove inside an open lane and built the lead to 8-0.
Maricopa, which entered the game winless in the Coast Valley League, didn’t score until the 2:30 mark of the first quarter, which came via a 3-point try. But Savannah Trenkle would later respond with a steal and bounce pass to Mikkelson, who proceeded to finish the layup to make it 19-3. Trenkle was the last Lion to score in the first; taking a Mayley DeBernardi lob for the layup and completing the 21-3 advantage after one quarter.
Things quieted down scoring wise in the second, as both MHS and VCA both combined for just 14 points. However, the Lions entered halftime with the commanding 30-8 lead.
And VCA never let up after that.
The Lions went on to outscore the Indians 29-11 in the second half. With the game out of reach in the third, Stanford made the decision to pull his starting lineup and allow his reserves and freshmen to see some court action.
The Lions have now won eight games this season when they hold the opposition to 20 points or less. After the contest, VCA held its traditional “Testimonial” ceremony which honored the senior members of both the girls and boys basketball teams.
Trenkle and DeBernardi accepted gifts from the coaches before being showered with claps and cheers from the VCA home crowd, as the school recognized them for their years of work inside the Lions’ gym.
For Stanford, the final regular season home game always comes with a moving tone for him and his heart.
“Senior night is always emotional,” Stanford said. “But at least we’ve got playoffs coming up so it’s not goodbye. But watching the kids grow not only on the court, but spiritually, has been amazing.”
Mikkelson led VCA with 18 points. Mason followed with nine points. Trenkle finished with eight points. Cose and DeBernardi both had six points apiece.
Kassidy Heller ended the evening with four points. Heather Knutson finished with hitting one 3-pointer. Alayna Kerley and Katie Eiler both had two points each and Hannah McCoy scored one point.
Now, the Lions will await their playoff fate when the pairings for the CIF Southern Section Division 5A bracket gets revealed during the upcoming weekend.
“We’re the second place team out of our league – so it can be either or. We’ll find out on Sunday at noon. We’re praying for a home game but if we have to go on the road, we’ll go on the road,” Stanford said.