Posted: Feb 22, 2020
The West Valley basketball team hadn't gone to the free-throw line the entire game until Adam Afifi stepped to the stripe with 18.6 seconds left and the Vikings clinging to a 47-44 lead at Cabrillo.
Afifi was nothing but net to make it 49-44. After Cabrillo's Gabe Mack hit two of three from the line to cut the lead to 49-46, Afifi was fouled again and calmly toed the stripe with 12 seconds remaining. He drained both attempts to ice the Vikings' 51-49 Coast-South title-clinching win in Aptos.
The tense win gave the Vikings (17-10, 8-4 Coast-South) a season sweep of Cabrillo (16-12, 8-4) and a share of the conference championship with their Highway 17 rivals. The title is the first for WVC since 2006, when current coach Danny Yoshikawa, back in Saratoga after a 13-year absence, was at the Viking helm.
Cabrillo came into Friday night's game already assured of at least a tie for the championship and a win would give the Seahawks the outright title. West Valley topped the Seahawks 79-68 in Saratoga on Jan. 29 behind Ben Baker's 28 points. The first game was not as close as the final score indicated; Friday's contest was every bit the barnburner.
The Seahawks led only twice - at 8-7 and 10-7 - and were victimized by a Sufyan Elkannan-led 20-8 Viking run to lift WVC to a 32-20 lead at intermission. Elkannan accounted for 11 of those 20 points as he scorched the Seahawks with a trio of treys and a bucket in the lane in a three-minute span. West Valley was up 32-16 after a pair of Baker free throws at the 3:09 mark, but Mack and Alphonse Alfred each connected on a pair of charity attempts to pull the Seahawks to within 32-20 as the first half closed.
Both teams were ice cold from the field in the second half. The Vikings held the Seahawks without points from 13:18 to 8:45, after Cabrillo had climbed to within one at 34-33. Cabrillo hit another scoreless stretch, when it mattered most, from 2:07 to :13. Afifi took matters into his own hands at that point and only a Jonel Aponte desperation three with 2.5 seconds left delayed the West Valley celebration.
Surprisingly, the physical game resulted in only 22 fouls - 11 for each team - being called. Cabrillo finished the night 15-16 from the stripe, while West Valley/Afifi was perfect at 4-4.
Afifi had a team-high 16 points, including a pair of long-range three-pointers, while Elkannan finished with 14 points and four treys. Alfred led the Seahawks with 19 points, and Mack had 10.
Playoff seeding will be announced early next week, with the Vikings assured of a spot in the 18-team north field.