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October 24, 2014

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Valley continues hot start to the season in win over Arbor View

Christian Kessee and Caleb Carter combine for 49 points for the Vikings

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Like a spark slowly trickling down a long fuse, it was only a matter of time before Valley ignited in Tuesday night’s game against Arbor View.

The Vikings slogged through a rough first half and trailed the Aggies at halftime, but burst the game open in the second half to take a 74-65 victory.

“We started running up and down the floor against their zone,” said senior guard Christian Kessee. “When we started running, that seemed to help us.”

The game was one of only two on Tuesday’s schedule of the Foothill Winter Gold Tournament that featured two local teams up against each other — in the other, Legacy outlasted Las Vegas High for a 69-66 win.

The Aggies and the Vikings made it count with a closely contested battle. Arbor View led most of the first half because its zone defense gave Valley problems running its offense.

The Aggies capitalized on a low-scoring first half to take a 30-28 lead. Coming out slow was understandable, as it was the third game in two days for both teams.

“We were in the locker room stretching each other out early and then in the game, we needed to run to get our legs loose,” Kessee said. “I think we handled it pretty well.”

Like it has all season, Valley succeeded when Kessee found his rhythm. The scored was tied at 37 after a couple minutes in the second half when the Vikings went on a 14-4 run.

Kessee starred by pushing the pace and scoring nine points during the stretch. He finished with 27 points.

“He’s capable of scoring 30 every night,” Valley coach Brian Farnsworth said. “He does what’s best for the team — that might be swinging the ball or might be knocking down open shots.”

Kessee had a lethal sidekick against Arbor View in junior forward Caleb Carter. Farnsworth and Carter’s teammates alike called his performance a “breakout.”

Carter had 22 points with 11 rebounds and four steals. He kept the Vikings in the game when Kessee was off in the first half, scoring 14 points.

“That’s what we expect out of him,” Farnsworth said. “We have a lot of guards, so a lot of times he only gets his points off of dirty work and put backs. But tonight we did a good job of dealing with that zone and finding him down low. He executed and finished.”

Blake Claxton and DeAndrea Johnson led Arbor View with a combined 32 points and 15 rebounds. The Aggies beat Liberty in the holiday tournament, but lost their other two games.

Valley (8-1) finishes off the tournament tomorrow when it faces Redondo Union of Redondo Beach, Calif., in the third place game. Canyon Springs and Melbourne (Australia) 1, the only team to beat Valley this season, will play for the championship.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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