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35-17 first half run lifts Vikings to 2nd-straight state tourney berth

Sat Mar 4, 2023
Baron Bracey gets a first half and-one

Baron Bracey gets a first half and-one

An undeniable fact is no lead is safe when playing the West Valley men's basketball team. Whether it's a run late in the first half or just after the break, Coach Danny Yoshikawa, his staff and players shift into another gear, erase opponent leads and then build insurmountable advantages of their own. It happened again Saturday night and catapulted the Vikings to their second consecutive CCCAA State Championship Tournament with an entertaining 88-75 win over Las Positas in a NorCal Regional Final at West Valley.

As they did against Porterville in last week's regional semifinal, the Vikings (26-4) were on the short end of a double-digit first half deficit due to cold shooting and a stingy Hawk defense. This time, Las Positas was up 22-10 with 10:45 left in the half and were in control at both ends of the court. Just three short minutes later, Nick Attanasio was fouled attempting a three. He drained all three free throws and the Vikings had come all the way back to take a 26-25 lead. When the half ended, on an Alex Perez trey, West Valley had a 45-39 lead, doubling up LPC 39-17 from that 10:45, 22-10 moment in time.

With Porterville game hero Elijah Mahi on the bench with two early fouls, the Viking first half belonged to Baron Bracey, who had 12 points, and Attanasio and Jeremiah Dargan, who both canned a pair of critical threes. LPC's Brandon Fisher was a dominant inside force before the break, leading all scorers with 14 points. He would not score another point. 

Mahi and the WVC defense both heated up after intermission, with the Vikings outscoring the Hawks 15-7 to start the half. A Dargan three from near the WVC logo at midcourt at 11:39 boosted the Viking lead to 67-56. The Hawks wouldn't score for another four minutes, while the Vikings logged 11 more for the aformentioned insurmountable 78-56 advantage. Mahi had seven of the 11 and then added four more to lift WVC to an 82-61 lead with just over five minutes left. The teams traded buckets and turnovers the rest of the way until Ariya Briscoe dribbled out the clock after the game's final rebound.

Bracey's 18 points topped four WVC double-digit scorers. Dargan and Mahi finished with 17 apiece, while Attanasio had 15 on four three-pointers. Briscoe had a loud nine points and Malik Patton hit a pair of key second-half buckets on his way to seven for the game. Isaiah Victor had a game-high 26 points for the Hawks (19-12). 

The Vikings, the #4 north seed, will be joined by two other Coast Conference teams, #1 City College of San Francisco and #2 San Jose City College, at the 2023 CCCAA Men's Basketball State Championship Tournament at West Hills College-Lemoore March 9-12. The College of the Sequoias is the north #3 seed. West Valley will open the tournament Thursday (3/9) against south #1 seed Fullerton (29-1) at 3pm. The rest of opening day has N1 CCSF (27-3) taking on S4 San Bernardino Valley (27-3), N2 SJCC (26-4) against S3 East LA (26-3) and N3 COS versus S2 Citrus (27-3).

Complete tournament information can be found at "Tournament Central" on the CCCAA website: