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Foothill boys basketball: West Ranch’s skid ends

Wildcats send Grizzlies to their eighth straight league loss

Posted: February 5, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 5, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

West Ranch boys basketball's pressure proved too much for Golden Valley to handle Friday night at West Ranch High School, as the Wildcats defeated the Grizzlies 62-39.

Led by sophomore center Ako Kaluna's 21-point performance, West Ranch's offense piggy-backed a pressure defense that disrupted the Grizzlies all night long.

"We made some shots early," said West Ranch head coach Sean Legaux. "We were able to adjust our press and we kept going inside. They didn't have anyone to match up to (Kaluna)."

The Wildcats (15-9, 3-5) were eager to end a three-game losing streak, punctuated by their overtime defeat Tuesday night at Hart High School.

"Throw out the Saugus game and four of our five losses have come by a total of 11 points," Legaux said
Despite the lopsided final score, the Grizzlies, led by junior guard Wade Rodriguez's 14 points, came out with their own sense of urgency.

With 4:08 remaining in the first quarter, Golden Valley (4-18, 0-8) had scored nine unanswered points and Legaux was forced to call a timeout with his team trailing 9-3.

"We didn't really adjust to their zone," he said. "We thought they would come out in man to man and it took us a while to get the right personnel in there."

The Wildcats' adjustments proved to be successful as West Ranch went on a run of its own, highlighted by a one-handed dunk by Kaluna, to close the first quarter with a 14-12 lead.

West Ranch would never trail again.

"I think we just stopped executing," Golden Valley Head Coach Myron Watkins said. "We played hard, but when you play hard on defense you lack in offense. We got tired because we were too aggressive."

The struggles continued for the Grizzlies, who scored only two points in the final 3:49 of the half to trail 32-17 at the midway point.

With both teams starting slow in the second half, the Grizzles saw their best chance to mount a comeback occur with 2:31 remaining in the third quarter.

Rodriguez drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the arc while being fouled. The ensuing free throw pulled Golden Valley back within 12 and injected life into the Grizzly crowd.

On the next possession, Wildcats junior guard Clark Stokes, who finished with five points, drilled a three of his own from the corner, pushing the lead to 40-25 and halting the Grizzlies final comeback bid.

"We come into every game with our heads held high," Kaluna said. We were ready to win."

 

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