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Welcome to Spanos Center: Golden Valley's key is to attack the glass

Keith Hunter didn't hesitate.

When asked what the biggest key tonight against Sheldon was going to be, the Golden Valley boys basketball coach gave a one-word answer: Rebounding.

"That's been our key all season," Hunter said. "Sheldon is very big and very physical.

"We have to keep this a basketball game. I don't want to see a volleyball game. If they keep shooting the ball until they make it, we're in trouble."

No. 3 Golden Valley (24-4) will face No. 6 Sheldon (19-9) in the quarterfinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs at the University of the Pacific.

Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Don't be fooled by the its sixth seed. Sheldon is as big and talented as any team in the Division I field.

Sheldon is led by four-year point guard Marcus Jackson, who is averaging 13.2 points and 4.9 assists per game.

Golden Valley's biggest problem may be matching up with Sheldon's 6-foot-6 sophomore Darius Nelson, who is averaging 22.6 points.

"Nelson is the real deal," Hunter said. "As a sophomore, he's a man amongst kids."

Sheldon's size and athleticism may force Hunter to change Golden Valley's trapping defense.

"I haven't decided yet," Hunter said. "I think we're going to have to be more selective with our traps.

"Jackson is a heck of a point guard. How many times are we really going to get him to turn the ball over. At 6-3, if we trap him, he can throw it right over our guys."

Golden Valley should get senior Donte Scott back in the lineup.

Scott missed Friday's playoff opener against Kennedy after suffering a blow to the head against Atwater in the regular-season finale.

"He should be ready to go," Hunter said. "We worked out a little bit and felt find. He deserves to play.

"He probably could have played on Friday night, but I didn't let him."

Hunter hopes to keep the game and a fast pace and let his shooters get open in transition.

"We don't want to get caught in a half-court game," Hunter said. "We're a team that likes to run up and down the court.

"If we make our shots we can be pretty good."

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