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West Ranch stands tall in victory

Posted: February 4, 2014 9:52 p.m.
Updated: February 4, 2014 9:52 p.m.

Christian Ware-Berry (21) recovers a loose ball against Canyon defender Ben Taufahema (3) at Canyon High on Tuesday.

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West Ranch boys basketball defeated the Canyon Cowboys 44-39 on Tuesday at Canyon High because of the little things and the big thing.

The little things, Wildcats head coach Shant Bicakci pointed out, were the four charges his team took.

The big thing was West Ranch’s length, particularly center Ryne Williams and his 6-foot-10-inch body and 7-feet wingspan.

Canyon was mostly a jumpshooting team on Tuesday and 27 percent from the floor didn’t cut it.

Williams blocked a 3-point try by Canyon guard Ben Taufahema with 30 seconds left, then the Cowboys (20-4 overall, 4-3 Foothill League) missed a 3-point try by Marc Cabrera that would have cut the West Ranch lead to two.

“It was big for our team,” Williams said of the block. “They hit that shot and they get a lot of momentum. They put the ball in Taufahema’s hands, and I knew he was going to shoot it.”

Taufahema led all scorers with 17 points, but Canyon didn’t establish much of a rhythm offensively in the game.

Neither did West Ranch (11-13, 4-3) for that matter.

There were 10 lead changes in the first half and not much scoring.

It was 8-8 after one quarter and the Cowboys took a 23-20 lead into halftime.

West Ranch’s 11-2 run in the third quarter started with a 3-pointer by Christian Ware-Berry, who led the Wildcats with 15 points, and ended with a 3-pointer by Noah Peterson at the 50-second mark of the third quarter.

That gave the Wildcats a 31-28 lead — a lead the Wildcats would never surrender.

The advantage reached its peak at 41-34 on an Alec Rodriguez three for the Wildcats, but West Ranch went the next four minutes without a basket.

However, Canyon’s offense couldn’t get going.

The Cowboys missed seven jump shots in the last four minutes — a drought that ended with a Taufahema 3-pointer at the buzzer.

“We were settling,” said Canyon head coach Sean DeLong.

DeLong shouldered the blame for the loss, but he admitted that West Ranch was better at some things.

“I just felt like we lacked the energy. I don’t know why,” DeLong said. “The little things turned out to be big for us.”

As they were for the Wildcats .

“Those four charges and we win the game by five points,” Bicakci said.

Williams pointed out that if West Ranch wins out, it will take sole possession of second place in league, and that’s the goal.

Canyon gets a rematch with Valencia at Canyon High.

The last meeting saw Valencia win by 32 points.


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