Ryan Sundeen
ASU Student Journalist

Romeo Valenzuela joins the 1,000 point club

February 9, 2018 by Ryan Sundeen, Arizona State University

A few days before Valentine’s Day, there was a Romeo putting on a show at Valley Lutheran High School.  The stage was the 1A West Region Tournament.  The Romeo was senior Romeo Valenzuela from the Valley Lutheran's boysbasketball team. 

“Relief,” Valenzuela said. “I just feel relieved to finally be there, I have been working towards this moment since being a freshman.”

Valenzuela was only 22 points away from hitting the magical 1,000-point career mark before the game.  At halftime, Valenzuela had 15 point  He finally got to it in the third quarter and his team went on to beat San Pasqual 79-34.

“He is a hard worker,” Rigo Valenzuela, Romeo’s dad, said.  “He is always in the gym even on his off days.  He has always worked hard and wants to be the best possible.”

With all the hype before the game, there still was a game to play.  The 2018 1A West Region tournament started Friday with the Flames of Valley Lutheran earning the top seed, facing off against No. 4 seed San Pasqual of California at home. 

The Flames started off in a full court press that resulted in an easy layup.  This resulted in the Warriors taking an early timeout to quell the pressure,  but it did not matter much with the Flames jumping out to an early 12-0 lead. 

A three-pointer gave the Warriors their first points of the game.  The Flames dominated the game in the first quarter by being patient and pounding the offensive boards.  The rebounding for the Flames never really let the Warriors get into a fast break situation. 

A an alley-oop dunk from Sergio Valenzuela to Tyler Behrend ended the first quarter.  The score at the end of the first was 26-7 Flames.  The Flames were dominating in all aspects of the game, with Sergio Valenzuela creating easy layups and Behrend grabbing any rebound in his vicinity. 

The second quarter started with two consecutive three-point shows that only added to the Flames' lead.  The Warriors started to find a groove in the second hitting some open shots.  The defense looked to stutter for the Flames with a big lead.  The Warriors started to force shots also feeling that the game and their season was slipping.   

The Flames were patient to start off the second.  The big lead and not shot clock allow them to move the ball around and pick up a good shot.  Romeo Valenzuela was showing his scoring prowess by weaving through defenders and making circus layups. 

The Warriors continued to fight throughout the first half, but it seemed that the Flames' senior experience and athleticism were hard for the team to overcome.  The half ended with a desperate deep shot from the Warriors, it was close but no good.  With the halftime score being 46-15 for the Flames the game seemed all but over.

The third quarter was clouded by anticipation for that 1,-000-point mark to be hit.  It finally came with 4:31 remaining in the third.  Romeo Valenzuela scored his 1,000th point on a swish from three. 

The crowd erupted with parents screaming and both teams showing respect with a standing ovation.  The girl's team for Valley Lutheran came out of their pre-game meeting to watch Valenzuela do something not many have done before him.  The celebration did not end there with Valenzuela’s mother bringing red balloons that read 1,000. 

“We were focused from the start,” Coach Bob Koehne said. “Last time we played we let them get off to a good start.” 

The third quarter went the same way as the rest of the game with Valley Lutheran up 71-21 when it ended.  The win was secured for the Flames, heading into the fourth, and this allowed the coach to empty the bench. It was a running clock in the fourth quarter which sped up the game.