Pirate sophomore Jacob Alonzo had 19 points and 12 assists, along with seven steals and three rebounds, while Malcolm Ruff netted 16 points with seven boards leading the VC men's basketball team past LA Valley 81-66 Thursday in Valley Glen. John Williams totaled nine points and Taylor Sturgeon added eight in the Pirates' final game before the Christmas holiday.
It was slow going for both teams early on. Isaac Ramirez scored a 3-pointer with 17:00 remaining in the first half to put Ventura (11-6) ahead 8-5. The Monarchs got a bucket on the next possession, and the score remained 8-7 for the next three minutes of game time. Ruff scored a lay-up with 13:37 on the clock to break the skid, and Alonzo grabbed a steal, and assisted a triple by Sturgeon to move Ventura ahead 13-7.
VC led 22-18 with 8:35 on the clock when Alonzo assisted a bucket by Stephen Ntui, then recorded a steal and a lay-up. that was followed by a steal by Ntui and a lay-up by Williams, as the Pirates scored six points in the span of 40 seconds to expand their lead to double digits. LA Valley closed to within five points on a few occasions the rest of the half, but Dondre Watson's 3-pointer with 54 seconds remaining in the period set up the 42-34 halftime lead for Ventura.
The Pirates remained comfortably ahead throughout the second half, with LA Valley closing to within five points just a couple of times early in the period. Alonzo hit a field goal to put Ventura ahead 49-42 at the 17:23 mark, and Terrell Handy-Johnson's offensive rebound and dunk augmented the lead to nine a minute later. Williams then hit a pair of charity shots to move the advantage to double figures for good with 15:36 remaining. Darrell Handy-Johnson's made jumper at the 5:29 mark gave the Pirates a 20-point cushion, 76-56, and the Pirates rode the wave to the 81-66 victory.
Ventura will travel to Riverside City College on Saturday Dec. 30 for a 1:00 pm contest, before hosting Canyons on Thursday Jan. 4 at 7:00 pm in their final tune-up before conference play begins.