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West Ranch rallies at Shootout

Wildcats win 16th annual Santa Clarita Summer Shootout at COC

Posted: July 11, 2009 8:59 p.m.
Updated: July 12, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Valencia's Madison Lanc (4) fights at midcourt against Alemany Saturday at the College of the Canyons.

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Looking to build off last season’s success, West Ranch girls basketball took another step in the program’s progression on Saturday. The Wildcats won the 16th annual Santa Clarita Summer Shootout, their first championship title at the event.

The eight-team event featured four local teams with Valencia, Hart and Canyon joining West Ranch.

The final pitted the Wildcats against Burroughs with West Ranch rallying from a seven-point halftime deficit to win 34-26.

Games consisted to two 20-minute halves with a running clock.

“We came out a lot more aggressive in the second half,” said West Ranch head coach Randy Smith. “I thought we really reached down. This is a really good win for us because right now we don’t have two of our starters because they’re off playing summer ball.”

Erin Ruiz of West Ranch won Most Valuable Player honors for the tournament for helping guide the Wildcats. The title game was tied with four minutes to play before the Wildcats went on a 10-2 run to finish off its comeback.

“Right now a team like West Ranch is just on a higher level than us,” said Valencia head coach Jerry Mike. “When you’re playing in the summer, a team is defined by how they practice, and right now we aren’t practicing at the same level they are apparently.”

Valencia, however, did reach the semifinals before falling to Alemany.

The event was also about players demonstrating their talents, said College of the Canyons head coach Greg Herrick.

“It’s a great chance for the kids to show their ability,” Herrick said. “It’s also a good chance for us to get the name College of the Canyons out there.”

Players such as 2009 star Charity Smith were first introduced to College of the Canyons at the Santa Clarita Summer Shootout.

“It’s a great chance for our players to play in a different environment and gear up for what else we have to do over this summer,” Smith said. “This is my first summer with the team so it is a chance for us to build because last year I didn’t come into the program until we were past that point.

It’s really what summer is all about, and I’m excited to have the chance to work with these girls. It’s an opportunity for the team to start learning the style we are going to play.”

kdamore@the-signal.com

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