Ali leads hot night for Van Nuys


Van Nuys forward Matthew Sykes being defended by Chatsworth guard Yashua Nonaka. Photo by Shae Hammond


Van Nuys, Calif- Van Nuys junior Mijuhaim Ali hit his first three pointer and for him the basket expanded by at least a foot in diameter.

Van Nuys jumped off to a 20-point halftime behind Ali’s four three pointers in the second quarter to defeat Chatsworth 84-71.

Ali finished the game with 19 points and Tyree Winborn had 25 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

“My teammates just got my open,” Ali said. “I was just trying to cut and get to the empty spaces and my teammates just found me.”

Van Nuys (8-8) has won two games in a row and is starting to find leveled distribution in its attack. Andy Sosa capped off the Wolves hot with a three at the end of the second quarter and Van Nuys led Chatsworth 46-26 at halftime.

In the second half junior Matthew Sykes had five blocks in the second half. Sykes punished Chatsworth physically and finished with 11 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks.

“Most of it just comes from being at the right place, at the right time,” Sykes said. “My teammates played good defense and my timing was just on today.”

Chatsworth (10-8) had its opportunities but missed 10 free throws in the first half. The Chancellors came out more aggressive in the second half and cut the Van Nuys lead in half by the end of the third quarter.

Anthony Carpenter and Yashua Nonaka each had 15 points for Chatsworth and Noah Mckensie and Taylor Trail each had 10.

“I think (Van Nuys) was more excited to play us then we were of them,” coach Dax Grooms said. “We hung in the game but we missed 10 free throws to start the game. When you’re playing a good team, you just can’t miss free throws and layups. We had a couple of transition opportunities we missed out on. They hit a lot of threes but they came on second and third chances.”

Winborn made an immediate impact by scoring seven points two minutes into the fourth quarter.

It was a more productive game for Winborn who focused on facilitating his team’s offense in the third quarter before going on the attack late in the game.

“We feel like we are the underdogs here,” Winborn said after his team’s eighth win. “When people see us play, they see Van Nuys, the toughest kids out here. We know what we are supposed to do and we know the way we are supposed to play.”

Written by Ethan Hanson


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