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NORSEMEN MARCH ON WITH VICTORY OVER BOBCATS

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BY ADAM PAUL

PHOTOS BY DON DEMARS PHOTOGRAPHY

CIF DIVISION III QUARTERFINALS

#2 VALHALLA 64, #7 SAGE CREEK 50

Once again the Valhalla Norsemen were able to play their game and overcome an aggressive Sage Creek squad to advance to Tuesday night’s home Semi-Finals contest.

It wasn’t easy at first for Valhalla as the Bobcats came out aggressive attacking on the defensive end as they tried stopping Dominac Safarta and Jordan Gaines. The aggressive game plan was successful at first as the Norsemen couldn’t take advantage of opportunities but they were able to still lead until the Bobcats took their first lead 14-13 with under a minute remaining in the first quarter. The lead didn’t last as Valhalla would drain another three-pointer along with a foul shot to lead 17-14 after one-quarter of play.

Jordan Gaines looks for a lane

Dominac Safarta with the circus shot

With the aggressiveness of the Bobcats, the physicality of the contest showed as the officials called a semi-tight contest and a couple of Bobcat players got caught in foul trouble. Despite this, they were able to match the Norsemen in the second quarter but the Norsemen would still lead thanks to a three-point attempt by Safarta in which he drained but was fouled in the act and he nailed the foul shot for the four-point play with :10 left in the half. Sage Creek was able to pull within 30-27 at intermission on a layup as time expired.

For Valhalla in the second quarter, Jordan Gaines led them with 9 of his 12 first-half points while Safarta scored 4 of his 12 first-half points including a trio of three-pointers.

Things in the second half started heating up for the Norsemen starting in the third quarter when they were able to outscore the Bobcats 13-9 thanks again to Gaines and Safarta.

“We had our chances as we had easy baskets but we couldn’t convert, they were definitely a tough matchup as they were bigger but I thought our bigs did an excellent job on the evening.” Said Valhalla head coach Keith Jackson.

Indeed the Norsemen were able to overcome the early shooting woes as they used their speed and athleticism to pull away.

Valhalla took over more in the fourth quarter extending their second-half lead as Safarta was able to get to the foul line eight times and knock down every attempt. They also outscored Sage Creek 34-21 in the second half.

Safarta on the night for the Norsemen led with 32 points and dished out 8 assists while Gaines contributed 23 points, 5 steals and grabbed 5 boards.

With the victory Valhalla will stay at home to host #3 seeded Del Norte in the Semi-Finals on Tuesday night February 19th at 7 PM and the winner will move onto  the CIF Division III Championship game.

 

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