Verdugo Hills Rolls Past Maranatha
The Dons came into their third matchup at the Providence tournament looking to build on the strong performance the girls put forth against Saint Genevieve. Bolstered by strong shooting performances by Nicole Vanegas and Moriah Mosley, Verdugo Hills comfortably gathered their second victory of the young season, defeating the Maranatha Minutemen 73-57.
The action was back and forth in the first half as both teams shot the ball well from the outside. Nicole Vanegas led the way for the Dons, going 5-11 from the field including 3 from behind the 3-point arc. Her backcourt partner Moriah Mosley followed suit, shooting 50% form the field in the first half as the Dons matched Maranatha’s pace and took a 30-26 lead into the halftime break.
If the Minutemen were waiting for Vanegas to cool off, they might be waiting for a while longer. Vanegas carried her hot offensive start straight into the second half, shooting an efficient 7-11 from the field on her way to a game high 36 points. The 36-point performance was just 3 points off her career high of 39, a mark she set as a freshman.
Maranatha did a great job penetrating the Dons’ zone defense in the first half, which led to some easy looks from the outside. In the second half the same trend continued as the Minutemen kept themselves in the game attacking the center of the Verdugo Hills defense. By the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Dons defense clamped down and began to control the paint and the defensive boards. By the end of the contest, Verdugo Hills held a 26-15 advantage on the glass, which was a major contributor to the Dons being able to keep Maranatha from ever regaining the lead beyond the early 6-5 lead they held after the first few minutes of the contest.
The leader and catalyst of this Verdugo Hills squad on the young season continues to be Ayana Peterson-Henry, who continues to be a Swiss army knife in how she contributes to the team’s play on both ends of the floor. Her imprint was evident on this game as she put up 8 points, 6 assists, 4 steals and 3 blocks. When it seemed as if Maranatha had found their groove, she began to attack the paint on the offensive end, collapsing the defense and creating easy looks for her guards on the outside. Ultimately, the team shot 48% from the floor, and her aggressive nature played a huge part in their offensive efficiency. Moriah Mbachu played a strong game as well, creating second shot opportunities for her teammates, leading the team with 6 rebounds, four of those of the offensive variety.
The Dons will look to close out their Providence tournament run winning three of their four matchups, but their final test will be a tough one. The final opponent comes in the form of the Canyon Cowboys, a team who come into the contest having won their last two contests in the tournament, including a 60-57 victory over a tough Hesperia squad. Verdugo Hills final matchup of the tournament against Canyon tips at 5pm on December 4th at Providence High School.