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Foothill League girls basketball: Multi-faceted West Ranch tops Vikings

Ruiz scores 21 to lead Wildcats girls hoops over gutsy Valencia

Posted: February 2, 2010 10:40 p.m.
Updated: February 3, 2010 4:55 a.m.

West Ranch's Brittni Walker, center, looks to shoot as Valencia's Jaqulyne Gibson, right, defends on Tuesday at West Ranch. The Wildcats won 53-46.

 
Given its length, the West Ranch girls basketball team poses matchup problems for Valencia.

But it was something else that eventually won the game for the Wildcats on Tuesday.

West Ranch guard Erin Ruiz hit all five of her 3-pointers — including a momentum-swinging shot early in the fourth quarter — and scored 21 points to help fend off tough-minded Valencia 53-46 at West Ranch High School.

It was the Wildcats’ third win over Valencia this season, and it pushes their record to 14-8 overall and 6-1 in the Foothill League, tied for first with Canyon.

“I was just feeling good about my shot,” Ruiz said. “We did what we had to do.”

The loss drops Valencia (13-11, 5-2) to second place in league.

Ruiz had a big hand in that.

So did guard Michelle Arima and the rest of her teammates.

Arima hit a pair of downtown daggers in the fourth quarter, during which the Wildcats outscored the Vikings 15-8.

They needed all of those points, considering Valencia trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half before tying the game in the third quarter.

“Once we started making shots our adrenaline started going,” said Valencia forward Faith Anumba. “We started working together.”

Valencia began to play better in the second quarter but still trailed 33-25 at halftime.

Anumba had a hot start to the third quarter, scoring the first six points to cut the lead to 33-31.

A bucket by Valencia guard Lindsey Hill tied the game at 36 late in the third, and West Ranch had just two field goals in the period.

“We came out flat,” said West Ranch head coach Randy Smith. “We were casual with the ball and not very crisp on offense.”

It was a different story in the first half, when West Ranch’s size was clearly problematic for Valencia. The Wildcats dominated the glass and took seven more shots than Valencia.

Ruiz poured in 15 of her 21 points in the first half. West Ranch forward Brittni Walker scored 10 points and added 13 rebounds to lead the Wildcats’ frontcourt.

“We’re very physical,” Walker said. “We’re taller than a lot of teams but we want it more.”

West Ranch held Valencia to just 36 percent shooting in the first half.

West Ranch guard Kaylyn Tarver said it’s tough to guard the Vikings, who have several different scoring options.

Tarver added 11 points for the Wildcats, while Anumba scored 17 to lead Valencia.

Lauren Spargo added 12 points for Valencia and Hill had 10 points.

Anumba said she was proud of her team’s effort against West Ranch’s tough play.

Smith said he knew it would be just as tough to beat the same team three times in one season.

“We’re well aware of that,” he said. “They got a lot of confidence that they could play with us in the second quarter.”

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