A fast start can be beneficial to any team, but Goddard’s burst to start Friday night’s girls basketball game proved to be crucial.
The Lions scored the first 10 points, which played a big role in a game that they led from wire to wire, but rarely by any more than single digits, as they held off a challenge from Valley Center in a 45-39 victory.
“They’re a very good team,” Goddard coach Kevin Hackerott said. “It seemed like every time it looked like we were about to pull away, they’d step up and hit a couple shots, and a few of them were really tough shots. So you have to give them credit.”
Goddard’s decisive start came with the help of a harassing defense and a few offensive rebounds. C.J. Wilhelm converted on three straight baskets to finish off the run, which covered the first six minutes.
A layup from Valley Center’s Taylor Latimer ended that streak. The Hornets were able to slice the lead to four points on four separate occasions in the second quarter, but never got it closer than that.
On the other side, Goddard led by double digits just twice, and only for a span of 45 seconds.
“That was a really good start for us to get off to,” Hackerott said. “We had a really good practice yesterday, and I told them how important it was to do that, because it gives you confidence right off the bat.”
The biggest lead came early in the fourth quarter, as Madison Smith nailed a three-pointer to make it 38-27. That was the last field goal either would make until Bethany Reeves hit a three for Valley Center with 90 seconds to play to cut it to 39-35, and the Lions were able to ice it away with just enough free throws.
“We’re still not quite there offensively,” Hackerott said. “This was one of our better offensive performances so far. But defensively we’re good. We can lock down and defend when we need to.”
Valley Center 5 10 12 12 -- 39
Goddard 10 14 11 10 -- 45
VALLEY CENTER: Rowley 15, Reeves 11, Perez 1, Latimer 4, Shank 3, Kinneburgh 3, Runnion 2.
GODDARD: Smith 14, Wilhelm 11, Cortese 6, Vang 2, Hackerott 8, Koger 4.