East County Sports

Hard-nosed Henderson leads Norsemen to road win

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Matthew Sako, of Valhalla, drives to the basket on Friday night at Steele Canyon. / photo by Don De Mars Photography



By Bill Dickens



SPRING VALLEY – Probably one of the most unsung players in Grossmont Conference history is Valhalla’s COLE HENDERSON. This guy is a hard-nosed player from A to Z.


He can do it all.  Need a 3-pointer? – he can deliver. Need a rebound? The 6-foot-4 senior is your man. Need a post man? He can deliver. This guy is not afraid to take a charge, take the ball to the hole or hit the long ball.


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Steele Canyon’s Gage Sanders tries to float a shot over a Valhalla defender Friday night in Spring Valley.

As well as Henderson performs on the basketball court, his future probably lies with baseball where he has a scholarship to Nevada Reno.


Henderson knocked down 17 points, collected 16 rebounds, dished 3 assists, blocked 4 shots, made 2 steals and absorbed 3 charges. He was the kingpin in the Norsemen’s knockout of host Steele Canyon, 65-55.


“One thing we really have going for us is team spirit,” said Henderson who noted the full house of Valhalla raucous fans. “That’s one of the things we really appreciate at Valhalla, is team spirit.”


Of course his effort was not solo as NATHAN YOUSIF punched in 17 points and grabbed 4 rebounds for the Norsemen.


“When you hear that loud crowd we look to turn it on,” said Yousif. “We needed to make a statement and I think we did.”


With the game tied 35-35 in the waning seconds of the second quarter, the Norsemen caught fire. Valhalla stormed to a 58-41 advantage and appeared to have the game wrapped up in rout fashion.


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Steele Canyon’s Thomas Fishburne goes for a layup Friday night against visiting Valhalla.

Not so.


The Cougars kept scrambling back and closed the lead to within 58-53 with a pair of THOMAS FISHBURNE free throws to help close the gap.


It was a close game. JORDAN ELLIS, who finished with 13 points, hit a bucket to make it 60-55 and backed that up with a pair of free throws to put the Norsemen in a solid position.


But that’s when the Steele Canyon rally stalled.


Valhalla:  Cole Henderson 17 (16 reb, 3 ast, 2 stl, 4 blk), Nathan Yousif 17 (4 reb), Jordan Ellis 13 (2 reb, 1 ast, 2 stl), Matthew Sako 6 (6 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl), John Murad 7 (2 reb, 1 stl), Trey Schimke 5 (1 reb, 1 ast, 2 stl, 2 blk).


Steele Canyon:  Javon Nutter 17 (7 reb), Gage Sanders 11 (1 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl), Thomas Fishburne 7 (3 reb, 1 ast, 2 stl), Nick Hodge 6 (2 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl), Jalen Sayles 5 (3 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl), Nick Barns 4 (1 ast), Marcus White 3 (3 ast), Kyree Woods 2.



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