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Grizz escape ’Cats

Golden Valley’s Looper drains putback for win

Posted: January 22, 2010 10:32 p.m.
Updated: January 23, 2010 4:30 a.m.
 
West Ranch boys basketball seemed to get every rebound it needed except for the last one in a 59-57 loss to Golden Valley on Friday at West Ranch High School.

The Wildcats had an opportunity to take the lead with possession and the game tied at 57 with 31 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

A critical turnover at the top of the key gave the ball back to Golden Valley with 21 seconds on the clock and an opening for Grizzly Trevor Wiseman.

“Toward the end of the game they were kind of triple-teaming, so it was harder to get the ball inside,” said Wiseman, the team’s 6-foot-7-inch point guard. “But it’s OK because I was taking it from the outside.”

His teammates relied on Wiseman all game, and he produced, finishing with 24 points, 10 rebounds and four steals. But on the last play of the game, his teammates, specifically center Robert Looper, stepped up big.

Wiseman brought the ball up the court, drove the lane and drew contact but missed with time running out.

Looper slipped by two Wildcat defenders to snag the board and put back the game-winner as the final buzzer sounded.

The Grizzlies (16-4, 3-1) leaned on Wiseman more than usual for most of the game due to an ankle injury in the third minute of the first quarter by Golden Valley guard Khatari Price.

“We struggled the whole game on offense,” said Golden Valley head coach Chris Printz, whose team was held well below its 72 points per game average. “(Price’s injury) impacted everything, and we didn’t adjust very well. … I give credit to West Ranch for putting the pressure on us.”

The Wildcats (10-10, 1-3) trailed 21-15 after the first quarter thanks to nine early points by Wiseman, who hit from all over the court.
Golden Valley began to press but West Ranch countered with its own.

The Wildcats got within a basket several times but never able to quite able to catch up before heading into the half trailing 34-30.

However, the Wildcats almost took control in the second half thanks to freshman Ako Kaluna, who was pulled up to varsity earlier in the week to bolster West Ranch’s frontline.

Kaluna helped lead a rally in the third quarter with solid play around the basket. He scored on three separate putbacks in the period, and finished his first varsity game with 10 points, nine rebounds and a pair of blocks.

“(Kaluna) is getting better and better, and for a freshman to have that type of composure. … He didn’t get rattled, he held his own in there,” said Wildcats head coach Sean Legaux.

West Ranch forward Martin Flowers added six more points in the third and finished with 10. Wildcats guard Alex Lucas hit a clutch 3-pointer, got a steal and then helped feed Elias Lucas, who hit a 3-pointer to pull his team within 52-50 with five minutes left in the fourth quarter.

A second 3-pointer by Elias Lucas two minutes later gave West Ranch a 53-52 lead before Printz needed a timeout.

Golden Valley got a little help from its bench and then went back to Wiseman. Grizzlies guard Josh Serrano made a pair of key free throws. Then Wiseman hit a layup in traffic and later drained another from the charity stripe to put his team up 57-55 with less than 90 seconds left.

A travel by Golden Valley’s Brandon Hale led to a layup by West Ranch’s Anthony Yumul to tie up the game.

West Ranch’s defense earned a shot-clock violation on Golden Valley, but it couldn’t convert on its last opportunity.

“It was a real tough one,” Legaux said. “But we’ve got to rebound. And I thought we did a good job on that for most of the game, we just didn’t get the last one.”

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