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It wasn't picture-perfect, but the Diablo Valley College men's and women's basketball teams achieved their primary objectives with wins over American River College on Friday in their Big 8 Conference home openers. 
The Vikings women (13-4, 2-0), who have won seven in a row, moved into sole possession of first place with a 75-66 triumph, and the DVC men (9-7, 1-1) prevailed 59-53 and find themselves in a six-team logjam in second place. 
DVC's teams will host Santa Rosa in Big 8 play on Tuesday, with the women's game at 5:30 p.m., and the men's game at 7:30 p.m.  
Both Vikings head coaches saw room for improvement against ARC. 
"Sometimes when you have all freshmen, it's kind of like a roll of the dice," DVC women's coach Ramaundo Vaughn said. "You don't know how they're going to play. Sometimes they're going to show their talent and play really well, and other times they're gonna play like freshmen. But fortunately, they're pretty talented freshmen, so even when they play pretty bad they're still better than some other teams." 
DVC men's coach Steve Coccimiglio took another step toward 600 career victories, earning No. 592 against, but he wasn't much for celebrating after Friday's sluggish effort.
His team struggled to get into its offense playing without injured starting point guard Leon Williams V (Fairfield).
"In basketball you've got to have good guards. Otherwise, you're doomed," Coccimiglio said. "I don't think we have good guards, but they've got to get better." 
 
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
The Vikings' impressive freshmen forwards Brandy Williams (Deer Valley) and Jojuan Carrington (Dublin) combined for 31 points. Freshman Breeana Grigsby (Lincoln-Stockton) added 13 points.  
"I think we could have played harder," Williams said. "We didn't execute on defense, and then offensively we did pretty good." 
The athletic Vikings, who attack the basket on offense, received an inspired effort from freshman guard Povai Fesili (Patterson), whose jumper after a length-of-the-court run upped the lead to 55-48 in the fourth quarter. Jumpers by Grigsby and Carrington made the lead 68-56, but ARC hung around with back-to-back high-arching 3-pointers by Bengu Atik. Carrington added the dagger with five consecutive points to go with a blocked shot on defense and a Grigsby basket. 
"Our big players are really solid, Carrington and Brandy Williams," Vaughn said. "They're pretty good players. Junior college level, as long as they get the ball they're gonna do well." 
 
MEN'S BASKETBALL   
The Vikings overcame a 10-4 deficit to start the game and won in typical grind-it-out style.
DVC captain Spencer Clark (Concord High) was a bright spot. His 3-pointer off a timeout with 10:34 left in the second half gave the Vikings some breathing room.  
Clark said the win was "something to build off" after a rough game at San Joaquin Delta in the Vikings' Big 8 opener. 
"We came out with a sense of urgency," Clark said. "We wanted to fight. We were down early, but we realized, 'Look, if we don’t get this one we're 0-2 in league, and we've got to pick it up. We can't lose this one.' It made us fight hard." 
The Vikings kept ARC at an arm's length for much of the night. Jacques Carraway (McClymonds), a 6-foot-7 sophomore, scored off a rebound to up the lead to 50-42. He also scored off a long pass from Damien Banford (Newark Memorial) to make it 52-44. The Vikings salted away the win on four free throws by clutch guard Matt Canalin (Encinal) in the final half minute. 
 
LOOK AHEAD: The Santa Rosa Bear Cubs women (10-7, 1-1) were paced by Niambi Saint Louis (18 points) and Kerianna Noonen (12 rebounds) in a 72-46 win over Cosumnes River on Friday, snapping a three-game losing skid. … The Santa Rosa men (10-6, 1-1), ranked No. 15 in the state as of Jan. 4, are coming off an entertaining 91-85 loss to Big 8-leading Cosumnes River (-6, 2-0), in which the Bear Cubs shot 42.9 percent (9 for 21) from 3-point range. Siaan Rojas, one of five Bear Cubs with double-digit scoring, had a team-high 20 points. Santa Rosa opened conference with play with an 80-69 win over ARC. 
  • -Matt Schwab 

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