Dons Girls’ Basketball finish on the right note

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After suffering back-to-back losses to open the Burroughs West Coast Holiday Classic, the Verdugo Hills girls’ basketball team faced off against Valley Mission League programs in the Sylmar Spartans last Wednesday afternoon in the Burroughs small gymnasium and the Kennedy Golden Cougars on Thursday from San Marino High School.

The Dons traded the first four buckets against the Spartans before taking a 16-5 advantage on a Elaine Oh layup. In all, six different Dons scored in the first quarter, which ended with the Dons ahead 18-9. Senior point guard and captain Ayana Peterson-Henry scored 11 of her 15 points in the first half. The Spartans closed the half on a 9-4 run to cut the Dons advantage to 29-19. Later on, the Dons held a 13 point lead heading into the fourth quarter before sophomore guard Moriah Mosley put together a 9-0 run of her own. Mosley stole the ball and finished it off for a layup. She then stole the ball again and got fouled and sank both free throws to give the Dons 46-29 lead with 6:43 remaining. Mosley added a third steal that she converted to a layup. She finished off the run by assisting on a Nicole Vanegas 3-pointer to open the game for good 51-29 with six minutes to go. Julia Gomez, a senior guard, also got in on the fun by assisting on baskets to Oh and a Victoria Vanegas three pointer with less than 2 minutes remaining. In the end, the Dons prevailed against the Spartans 62-37. Mosley led the Dons with 18 points, Peterson-Henry contributed 15 points, while the Vanegas sisters combined for 13 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, Morriah Mbachu collected 13 rebounds to go along with six points and Oh had six points and three rebounds.

Against Kennedy, the Dons trailed early 4-2, but a steal by Mbachu led to a Nicole Vanegas three pointer with 5:30 left in the first quarter to give the Dons a 5-4 advantage and the lead for good. Mosley finished with seven steals in the game, four of which helped the Dons build a 11-4 lead in the opening quarter. The Dons were able to move the ball more against the Golden Cougars resulting in many fast break opportunities. Ultimately, Verdugo Hills tamed the Golden Cougars by the final score of 54-26 at San Marino High on a rainy Thursday evening. Nicole Vanegas finished with 20 points and seven takeaways, while Mbachu scored a 14-point double-double to go along with 12 rebounds. Mosley pumped in 10 points and seven rebounds. Dons coach Kevin Peterson-Henry commented the Sylmar and Kennedy contests, “It felt like we were a little out of sorts on defense against Sylmar, Our focus was to get our energy back and to move our feet and keep players in front,” he later added his thoughts about playing some tough teams. “We’ve played a lot of really good teams and I think that's really helped us and I see our growth from having to step up our level, I just hope it pays off in the East Valley League.”

Next up for the Dons is a date with rival John Francis Polytechnic on Tuesday, January 11th on the road, the game is scheduled for a 4pm tip-off.

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