Culminating win offers hope for DeAngelo, Sun Valley

ASTON >> Four possessions into the second quarter Saturday, Sun Valley head coach Steve Maloney called a timeout to reprimand his players’ hasty play.

The Vanguards were controlling the early stages of what would become a 66-56 nonleague win over Interboro, but the key to that control would be dictating a more measured pace. The response from his charges was a run of 15 points in the last six minutes of the half, followed by 23 points in the third quarter.

The pivot illustrates the two sides of the Vanguards as they wrap up a 6-16 season: The talent they possess, albeit with a youthful edge.

Sun Valley’s Vinny Deangelo rises for a shot over the Interboro defense Saturday. DeAngelo led the Vanguards with 16 points in a 66-56 win. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

Sun Valley finishes with two wins in its last five games, but the other three losses were by seven points or fewer. That’s reason for short-term frustration and long-term hope.

“I think a big thing we really need to work on is finishing games,” sophomore captain Vinny DeAngelo said. “We were in a lot of games and it got to the third or fourth quarter, and we let it get away. As a young team, I think we can really build on winning a lot of games by finishing.”

There’s another telling moniker, “sophomore captain.” For two seasons, DeAngelo has been central to Sun Valley’s offense with performances like Saturday’s 16-point, five-assist outing. His orchestration of Sun Valley’s offense generated fluid ball movement, plenty to get by the Bucs, who Sun Valley led by 29 early in the fourth quarter.

Sun Valley got 14 points from Marvin Freeman, including four 3-pointers in the first half. Tyler Ungarino added 11 points and seven rebounds, and Dino Karros chipped in eight points.

Ungarino and Karros are outliers for this team as seniors playing their last games, as Sun Valley now stands to reap the upside of injuries that blighted this campaign. Two opening-day starters, Ishy Ahmad and Sean Steppke, faded thanks to injuries. That thrust a plethora of young players into larger roles.

Among those who rose to occasion was Freeman, who hit 49 3-pointers and averaged 10.8 points per game. Freshman Dom Valente saw significant minutes, while the return of Shahir Brown-Morris, who spent his freshman year at Sun Valley before heading to Cardinal O’Hara as a sophomore, for the second semester provided a boost. He figures to have the point guard job locked down next season.

And then there’s DeAngelo, Sun Valley’s leading scorer at 14.3 points per game. A starter as a freshman, the 5-foot-11 guard enters his junior season with 431 career points, well ahead of many classmates.

That has DeAngelo and company hoping that the future is bright.

“I think it really helped us grow chemistry-wise,” DeAngelo said. “This offseason, we’re going to be working extra hard. I would’ve loved to have sent off the season better and made a playoff run, but it is what it is.”

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