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Cowboys lock up third

Bartole scores 16 points to lead Canyon over West Ranch in season finale

Posted: February 12, 2010 11:19 a.m.
Updated: February 12, 2010 4:30 a.m.
 
Canyon boys basketball got the win it needed, but not the results it hoped for in a 68-60 win over West Ranch on the road Thursday.

The Cowboys were hoping that both Golden Valley and Valencia would lose Thursday, which would have given Canyon a shot at a three-way Foothill League championship.

Instead, the Vikings and Grizzlies were victorious, and a tired Cowboys squad will reflect on a league lead squandered as it prepares for the playoffs next Thursday.

Valencia and Golden Valley have the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, and the Cowboys have locked up the third spot. 

“We really wanted this win,” said Canyon head coach Chad Phillips. “To be honest, we took a few steps back toward the end of league. We were mentally and physically tired from our start.”

The coach said he thought the Cowboys’ surprising 4-0 record to begin league play might have worked against them, and Thursday’s win was important to carry momentum into next week.

Canyon took an early lead and held it all night, as the Wildcats couldn’t keep up with their opponent on the boards.

Canyon (18-8, 7-3) clung to a 16-13 lead after the first quarter thanks to solid shooting from beyond the arc. Kris Quant hit a pair of treys to keep his team on top.

West Ranch (12-14, 3-7) answered with several 3-pointers of its own, led by Eli Lucas, who finished with a game-high 22 points.

The Wildcats kept harassing the Cowboys into less-than-ideal shots, but Canyon’s rebounding supremacy kept giving it enough chances to stay ahead.

The Cowboys also used physical play early to limit freshman Ako Kaluna, who was a force in the post for West Ranch.

Tere Adams, Wesley Bartole and Darnel Haggerty all played big roles in the Cowboys’ 33-29 halftime lead. Bartole finished with a team-high 16 points, Quant added 11 points and Adams scored 10. Haggerty scored four points but added seven rebounds.

West Ranch came out strong in the second half, thanks to tough defensive stops and clutch performances from Anthony Yumul, Evan Carothers and Kaluna.

Kaluna added a slew of big buckets in the paint, finishing the night with 13 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals, as the Wildcats refused to allow too much separation.

Lucas made it a three-point game when he converted layup off a steal and then a free-throw to finish a 6-0 West Ranch run that pulled the Wildcats within 46-43 late in the third.

West Ranch stayed in it throughout the fourth, but couldn’t seem to get over the hump.

“It came down to the fourth quarter, what we call the ‘golden minutes,’ or the final four minutes,” LeGaux said. “We just didn’t execute and didn’t make enough big shots in the fourth quarter. But I was proud of the way this team played through everything this year.”

West Ranch was within five points at 62-57 late, but Canyon forced two turnovers and iced it at the free-throw line.

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