FAIRFIELD — The Vanden High girls basketball team faces a familiar foe in Tuesday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division III semifinals, though one it hasn’t played.
The second-seeded Vikings meet No. 6 Modesto Christian at Cosumnes River College of Sacramento at 4 p.m. Though they haven’t played the Crusaders, they’ve participated in their January tournament the last several seasons.
“We go to their Martin Luther King Showcase every year,” Vanden coach Allison Johnson said. “There are bunch of teams. We see (Modesto Christian), they see us. Obviously, I’m familiar with their coach, Robb Spencer. He’s a great coach, so they’ll be well coached. They’ll be ready for us.”
The Crusaders (21-8) shared the Trans Valley League title with Ripon at 11-1. Six of their eight losses came against teams ranked or on the bubble in their respective divisions by CalHiSports.com.
“He plays a tough schedule – Robb Spencer and Modesto Christian don’t run from anybody,” Johnson said. “There’s nothing they haven’t seen. He has them battle tested and ready for the playoffs.”
And like the Vikings (26-3), who had three first-team all-Solano County Athletic Conference selections and six honorable mentions, the Crusaders are deep.
“His (Spencer’s) rotation is talented, top to bottom,” Johnson said. “They don’t have a gaping weakness that jumps out at you. They’re all talented and play hard. He teaches consistency and they play hard. There’s nothing you can key on in any direction. They’re a talented, balanced group. They have four kids average between 9 and 14 points (per game). That’s very balanced to me.”
According to maxpreps.com, senior shooting guard Lexi Tubbs leads Modesto Christian at 14.4 points per game and has hit 40 3-pointers, two fewer than sophomore point guard Ashley Lucas, who averages 9.8 points per game.
Also in double figures are senior forward Hoku Faiaipu (10.7) and junior forward Jasmine Hampton (10.0).
The Vikings, who averaged 64.3 points per game to the Crusaders’ 57.4, are led by junior guard/forward Mariah Williams, the SCAC Player of the Year, who’s averaging 10.9 points per game.
She’s followed by sophomore guard Kayla Blair (10.0), junior forward/center Aleseana Whitney (7.9), senior guard Adrianna Jones (7.0), freshman guard Kiana Moore (6.5), sophomore guard/forward Chantell Greer (6.2), sophomore guard Toni Taylor (5.8) and senior point guard Lanissa Belk (5.5).
Six different Vikings have hit at least 15 3-pointers on the season led by Jones with 55.
With her team riding a 17-game winning streak, Johnson isn’t looking to make any big changes.
“The key really,” she said, “is just playing, just us, us playing our style and executing the opportunities that we create.”
Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.