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GAINES LEADS NORSEMEN AS THEY SAIL ON INTO FINALS

VALHALLA CELEBRATES AFTER BIG VICTORY

EASTCOUNTY PREP BOYS BASKETBALL

CIF DIVISION III SEMIFINALS

BY ADAM PAUL

PHOTOS BY DON DEMARS PHOTOGRAPHY

#2 VALHALLA 54, #3 DEL NORTE 44

COACH JACKSON GIVING INSTRUCTIONS

The second-seeded Norsemen all year had lived and died by the three-point shot led by their floor general Domanic Safarta.

However, on this night the visiting Nighthawks came into the Thunderdome with a plan and that was to somehow limit Safarta. The Nighthawks actually did a really excellent job in doing so as they limited Safarta the entire evening. They also limited the Norsemen three-ball attack the entire evening thus making the Norsemen adapt.

So with Safarta being limited scoring wise another Norseman had to step up and a couple others did. Right away the Norsemen showed it was their house as they raced out to a 7-2 lead but the Nighthawks used a 5-0 run to tie the score in the first quarter and go back and forth with Valhalla. After one period of play, the Norsemen led 12-11.

Jordan Gaines maneuvers through the defense

DOMANIC SAFARTA WITH THE SHOT

Again in the second quarter, Valhalla was able to extend their lead with a small run to lead 16-11 but Del Norte over the final few minutes of the second quarter would actually go on another run and take their first lead of the contest with just under two minutes to go at 19-18. They would retake the lead 21-18 and Valhalla came roaring back. The biggest highlight of the first half would come when Jordan Gaines at the buzzer nailed a long-range three-pointer to tie the contest at 23-23.

Both squads would go back and forth in the third quarter with Del Norte eventually taking a 35-34 lead heading into the final period of play.

Del Norte in the fourth quarter would be called for a flagrant foul with a little over seven minutes remaining in the ballgame and with this, the momentum swung in the favor of Valhalla as they made the foul shots. Valhalla would eventually late in the game put the game away with free throws and key defensive stops.  They would go onto outscore the Nighthawks 20-9 in the quarter.

Jordan Gaines for Valhalla picked up the scoring as he punched in 28 points while Evan O’Neil poured n 13 points and Domanic Safarta scored 8 points while dishing out 8 assists.

With the victory, the Norsemen will play in their first CIF Championship contest since the 2014-15 season when they lost to El Cajon Valley. This time they will play the San Diego High Cavers who defeated Sweetwater 79-78 in the waning seconds of their semi-finals contest.

The CIF Division III Championship contest between the #4 San Diego High Cavers and the #2 Valhalla High Norsemen will be at Mira Mesa High School on Thursday, February 21st at 7:30 PM.

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