Verdugo Hills makes a statement in league opener


When The Verdugo Hills Dons take the floor, the mission is always the same. Play fast, play aggressive, and force the opponents into mistakes while limiting their own. If you ask any basketball coach, there is no such thing as perfect execution, but the Dons Varsity girls basketball team came as close as you can expect in their league opening victory over the Grant Lancers. Led by their dynamic backcourt of Nicole Vanegas and Moriah Mosley, The Dons pitched a shutout in the opening period, outscoring Grant 31-0, on their way to a 67-15 romp.

From the outset of the contest, Verdugo Hills sophomore guard Moriah Mosley made life impossible for Grant’s point guards, racking up 5 steals in the first quarter. If the Lancers guards were able to keep possession and get past her ferocious play up top, they had an equally tough task dealing with sophomore forward Morriah Mbachu down low. Mbachu was a force on the block, piling up rebounds and denying the Grant post players from getting to advantageous positions to get quality looks at the basket. She even added in a couple of steals, a block and an assist to stamp a great performance. “She’s really improved, and hard to handle inside,” said Dons Head Coach Kevin Peterson-Henry, when speaking about Mbachu’s efforts. “She’s especially worked on her defense and that means we need her on the floor.”

The prevalent theme of the Dons success during this 5-2 start to the season has been the contributions of the reserves as well as the starting five. This was the case in this game as the second unit not only kept the lead the starters built but increased the margin while they were out on the floor. The reserves tallied 21 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals while playing almost the entirety of the second and fourth periods of the game.

The Dons have now won three in a row, and to the delight of Coach Peterson-Henry seem to be finding their stride now with seven games under their belts. “I’m happy with how we played today because we’ve been talking about winning each possession on each end, and not worrying about the overall result, and we did well at that today,” said Peterson-Henry.

Though they are off to a good start, the road ahead gets tougher for the Dons over the course of the next couple of weeks with games against teams such as unbeaten Chatsworth and league rival Arleta looming. For now, the team will focus on the confidence that comes with starting off the league on the right foot. “We have some tough games coming in the next two weeks,” said Peterson-Henry when talking about the road ahead for the team. “We also have the goal of winning the league, so getting out to a good start with that kind of win is positive.”

After a brief detour for league action, Verdugo Hills picks back up where they left off in the East Valley Tournament on December 10th at 5:30 pm against the Oakwood Gorillas at Vaughn High School.

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