Defensive switch pushes Coronado past Valley girls

Coronado girls basketball coach Bill Crego hoped to use a man-to-man defense to stop Valley’s quick-strike offense Wednesday.

When the Vikings put up 11 points in the first 3½ minutes, the Cougars abandoned that strategy.
And they found a trapping zone much more to their liking.

Coronado forced 30 turnovers, including 21 in the second half, and turned an early seven-point deficit into a 56-35 home win.

“I wanted to go man, but we didn’t get it done at the beginning of the game,” Crego said. “We’re small, and we have to keep people from getting to the basket.”

The Cougars (4-1) scratched their way back to take a 17-14 lead early in the second quarter then forced turnovers on five consecutive Valley possessions during a 9-0 run that opened up a double-digit lead.

Valley (3-2) never recovered.

The Vikings, who too often settled for the first available 3-point attempt, shot just 13 of 53 from the field, including a 3-for-21 mark from behind the arc.

Valley, though, trailed only 32-21 at the half before starting the third quarter with a turnover on eight of its first nine possessions.

The Vikings didn’t score in the fourth quarter until Gabby Cabanero’s 3-pointer with 1:57 to play. Valley started 0-for-8 with eight turnovers in the fourth.

Coronado also defended well against Valley’s Kennedy Wharton, who had scored at least 21 points in each of the Vikings’ first four games. She finished with 10 points.

“We stressed that we needed to know where she is,” Crego said.

Coronado had its own struggles on offense, committing 22 turnovers, but found a handful of positives.
Sofie Cruz led the team with 21 points, and guard Ashley Johnson grabbed 11 rebounds despite being in early foul trouble.

Crego also got all 13 of his players into the game before the end of the third quarter.

“I like that I was able to get the last five girls in there, and they’re able to execute,” Crego said. “We need to get depth to be able to compete with the best teams.”

Cabanero had 18 points to lead Valley. Wharton added 14 rebounds.

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