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Wildcats continue to impress

West Ranch girls basketball team beats Hart for first time on the court

Posted: January 19, 2010 10:16 p.m.
Updated: January 20, 2010 4:30 a.m.
 
There is a shift in Foothill League girls basketball and nowhere else was it more evident Tuesday than at Hart High.

Upstart West Ranch, with its eyes clearly set on a Foothill League title, defeated longtime and former ruler of the league Hart 61-48.
But it wasn’t easy early on.

The Indians led 16-4 after one quarter before West Ranch’s inside presence took over.

That presence was senior post player Tori Wilson.

Wilson scored eight of her team-high 16 points in the period, a frame that saw the Wildcats outscore Hart 22-6.

West Ranch (11-7, 3-0) held the Indians back the rest of the way.

“I didn’t want to panic,” Wilson said. “I knew we weren’t scoring a lot early. I couldn’t help just defensively. I had to step up
(offensively).”

Hart struggled down the stretch, though, losing the rhythm it established in the first quarter.

“We’re happy to be close,” said Hart head coach Zach Koebel on the problems for his team. “At this point, it’s maturity. We’re making the same mistakes we made 20 games ago and every one in between.”

This is the first time West Ranch has ever beaten Hart on the court.

The Indians (4-13, 0-3) had to forfeit a victory last season to the Wildcats after it was learned that a player falsified her residency records.

Hart has played three close Foothill League games this season — all with the predicted top three teams in the league, Valencia, Canyon and West Ranch.

All have resulted in losses.

Hart junior forward Christina Falcone scored 24 points, but she accounted for 16 of the team’s 26 second-half points.

“Christina doesn’t get on the bus, we’re not in the ball game,” Koebel said.

Hart’s girls basketball team is suffering from the same thing its boys team is suffering from — youth.

That youth caught up with the Indians on Tuesday.

The experience helped the Wildcats as they overcame the early adversity.

Two minutes into the third quarter, Falcone hit a 3-pointer, cutting the West Ranch lead down to 36-33.

But the next play emphasized Wilson’s value in the game.

Wildcat Martika Bradley missed a shot, but Wilson was right there to clean up the rebound and score.

Wilson pulled down 11 rebounds in the game.

Erin Ruiz added 12 points and Brittani Walker scored 11 points.

It’s no secret that West Ranch is a contender.

It will be heavily favored to beat Golden Valley on Friday, then it will play another team with its eyes on the title on Tuesday — Canyon at Canyon High.

“If we can get through the first half of the season with our three toughest games having been away (Valencia, Hart and Canyon), we’re sitting pretty good for the second five (games),” said West Ranch head coach Randy Smith.

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