Weeks allowed himself to laugh.
The game started well enough, with senior Michelle Figueroa making two quick inside passes to senior Jasmine Werdel. The Mustangs led 14-6, their fourth lead of the game, with 3:28 left in the first quarter.
But then Costa Mesa (6-6) shut down, unable to work around Valencia’s zone defenses, and the Vikings (8-4) went on a 27-0 run that lasted for most of the second quarter.
Figueroa finally broke the ten-minute drought with a jumper with 1:27 left to play in the first half.
The Mustangs trailed, 33-16, and didn’t recover.
“They switched to a couple of different defenses and we had a hard time adjusting to them,” Weeks said. “We didn’t convert a few offensive situations, and then they started shooting real well. It kind of turned it around. They were last year’s champions, so I knew they were going to be tough. We really got a good start, but they’ve got a lot of good players and they worked really hard and played hard and we didn’t seem to respond well to that.”
At one point, the Vikings scored on five straight possessions. Valencia led 40-18 at halftime.
“We knew what we were supposed to run, but we didn’t run it well against them,” Weeks said. “Their athleticism, they were bigger than we were, and they were about to use that size well against us. Especially when they went to the zones.”
Still, even in the fourth quarter, after the Vikings switched to a considerably smaller lineup, Valencia outscored the Mustangs 17-8.
Costa Mesa also lost its post presence when Werdel got her third foul early in the second half and had to come out. When she returned, Werdel’s tentative play hemmed her effectiveness on defense.
“When she got into foul trouble, that really hurt us in the first half,” Weeks said. “And in the second half, she never really got back into the game. She did well early, but when she got her third foul and had to come out that quarter, that was really tough.
Costa Mesa will play again today at 1 p.m., and Valencia will have a shot at torturing some other team.
“We’ve played several really good teams this year,” Weeks said. “They came out and shot well and consistently against us. Mission Viejo did a good job on us, and we played a couple of other tough teams, but they’re good. I picked them to have a chance to win the tournament.”
Costa Mesa Winter Classic
Valencia 75, Costa Mesa 33
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Val – Hastigan 15, Hill 11, Wright 10, Cavanagh 8, Spargo 8, Greenwood 6, Sanchez 6, Gibson 6, Lentz 2, Chun-hoon 2, Herrera 1.
3-pt. goals – Hastigan 3, Greenwood 2, Hill 2, Cavanagh 1.
CM – Figueroa 17, Werdel 7, Rosello 6, Gentling 3, Langmos 3, Judkins 2.
3-pt. goals – Rosello 2, Gentling 1, Langmos 1.
SORAYA NADIA McDONALD may be reached at (714) 966-4613 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.