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Girls basketball: Foothill traffic jam

The Cowboys take control from onset of the second half

Posted: January 26, 2010 9:50 p.m.
Updated: January 27, 2010 4:30 a.m.

Canyon senior Kayla Michel drives to the basket as she is closely guarded by West Ranch's Brittani Walker in the first half on Tuesday at Canyon High.

West Ranch girls basketball was looking to run the tables in Foothill League play. Canyon was looking to rebound from its only league loss.

In the end, Canyon girls basketball had too much punch in a 49-45 win over West Ranch at Canyon on Tuesday.

“I think our pressure was the key,” said Canyon head coach Chuck Johns. “We had a couple of big shots and that can change momentum really quick.”

Canyon’s win leaves the Foothill League standings shaken up, as now the top three teams have one loss heading into the second round of league play.

Valencia defeated Saugus 58-45 on Tuesday night and is also 4-1.

Both Canyon and West Ranch had trouble on offense early thanks to the pressure, and neither side hit double-digits in scoring until the second quarter.

Canyon (15-6, 4-1) trailed 9-7 after the first because West Ranch was able to break the Cowboys’ press with smart passing.

Despite the low score, there were plenty of shots, but solid, physical defense kept both teams limited.

Canyon looked to go inside early, but the Wildcats’ frontline of Kaylyn Tarver, Brittni Walker and Tori Wilson were having none of it.

“We were trying to run some halfcourt sets early and trying to get our (post) involved, but that wasn’t really working,” Johns said.

West Ranch (12-8, 4-1) began to build on the lead early in the second quarter with trips to the free-throw line and strong inside defense.

Tarver hit two free throws after a hard foul on a fast break to put West Ranch up 17-9 halfway into the second quarter.

Canyon’s leading scorer, Brooke LeMar, led a run by making a big steal, hitting a layup in transition and then adding a free throw to bring her team within five. Canyon got into the bonus early with two minutes left in the first half but struggled to hit from the charity stripe.

Walker ended the half with a steal and drove down the length of the court past Canyon defenders to finish with a layup, putting the Wildcats up 24-16 at halftime.

However, in the second half, Canyon took control and started the second on a 10-1 run to take a 27-25 lead.

The Wildcats started to stagnate offensively, and the Cowboys took advantage.

The offensive effort finally started to match the defense for the Cowboys thanks to big play from LeMar, Alexus Bryant and Adriana Dent.

LeMar and Dent helped key the run with a couple of big steals. Bryant scored five straight points to help kickstart the Cowboys in the second half.

“It all started with our fullcourt pressure,” LeMar said. “(My teammates) took the pressure off. They hit a couple of big shots.”

Once the pressure was off, LeMar managed a pair of big 3-pointers and then got the job done at the free-throw line.    

West Ranch’s defense started to tire, and the Cowboys were hitting open looks from the perimeter.

“We just didn’t play well enough to win the game,” said West Ranch head coach Randy Smith. “We allowed 16 points in the first half and then 18 in the third quarter.”

LeMar hit a pair of big shots that took the pressure off the Cowboys and put it on West Ranch. As she hit her second 3-pointer of the third quarter, there was little doubt she was taking over the game.

With 26 seconds left, LeMar hit two big free throws to put Canyon up 48-45 and give West Ranch one last chance for a tie.

Instead, Canyon forced a turnover and Dent helped ice the game at the free throw line.
Erin Ruiz led West Ranch with 16 points.

LeMar scored 13 to lead Canyon.


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