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Wildcats hold steady

West Ranch improves to 2-0 in Foothill League play with victory

Posted: January 15, 2010 9:56 p.m.
Updated: January 16, 2010 4:30 a.m.

West Ranch senior Kaylyn Tarver (11) drives past Valencia's Lauren Spargo (31) on Friday night at Valencia High. The Wildcats won the game 64-50.

 

Two teams loaded with seniors and Foothill League-championship plans got a reminder of just how tough it will be to take the girls basketball title.

With stifling team defense and plenty of transition offense, the Wildcats beat the Vikings at their own game on Friday with a 64-50 win at Valencia High.

The Wildcats took control of the first quarter after both teams got off to a sluggish start.

West Ranch junior guard Cameo Carrillo notched two early steals and fed Kaylyn Tarver and Erin Ruiz for easy layups. Tarver finished with three steals and two blocks of her own to go with eight points and six rebounds.

Ruiz scored nine in the first quarter and the Wildcats made it 21-12 early in the second quarter before Valencia head coach Jerry Mike needed a time out.

“I think the difference between this and some of the other games we’ve played is that we finished really well,” said West Ranch head coach Randy Smith.  “(Valencia) came out in a box-and-1 again (to double-team Ruiz) and we had other people who could score.”

Back-to-back layups by Tarver and Ruiz made it 27-13 midway through the second quarter before Mike called another timeout.

“They were just stronger than us, more physical than us, better maybe,” Mike said. “I needed more out of my starting group.”

Valencia’s leading scorer, Lauren Spargo, was held scoreless in the first half, thanks to solid defensive pressure by Tarver.

It was the second time the teams played where Spargo was held to four points, well below her double-digit scoring average.

Valencia seniors Jenny Lentz and Lindsey Hill added 14 and 13 points, respectively.

But that was just about all West Ranch allowed.

Ruiz scored 16 points to pace the Wildcats, and her teammates had no problem following the lead. Walker pulled down 10 rebounds to go with 11 points and three blocks. The only non-senior starter for West Ranch, sophomore Michele Arima, added 11 as well.

Meanwhile, Valencia continued to look frustrated well into the second half. They couldn’t seem to find a rhythm, and more importantly for West Ranch, Tarver and Walker gave the Wildcats an edge on the boards.

Valencia fought back to within eight points halfway through the third quarter, but three straight steals by Martika Bradley led to six straight points for West Ranch.

Valencia’s Brittany Jackson answered with a pair of free throws to stop the run, but the Vikings were already trailing 40-27.

West Ranch pushed the lead to 15 before a pair of buckets by Spargo in the last minute of the third quarter left Valencia behind 48-35 heading into the fourth quarter.

Two more turnovers by Valencia let West Ranch push its lead to 54-37 with six minutes left before Mike called a third timeout to try and stop the visitors’ momentum.

It didn’t work.

Another pair of fast-break baskets by West Ranch and more impenetrable defense made it 64-46 before Mike used his final timeout with two minutes left.

But by then, it was far too late to change the outcome.

It was the Wildcats’ second win over the Vikings in the teams’ last two meetings.

West Ranch edged Valencia 48-45 in a pre-league contest for the consolation championship of a tournament in Beverly Hills on Dec. 31.

 

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