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Foothill League boys basketball: Wildcats flex size advantage

Kaluna dominates inside as West Ranch moves to 2-0 in Foothill play

Posted: January 14, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: January 14, 2012 1:55 a.m.

If it isn’t broken, why fix it?

That seems to be the idea behind the West Ranch boys basketball team this season.

The Wildcats, behind another dominant performance from 6-foot-7-inch center Ako Kaluna, defeated Golden Valley 82-43 on Friday at West Ranch High School.

Kaluna posted a double-double — scoring 19 points on 8-of-11 attempts, pulling down 11 rebounds and blocking four shots — as he disrupted the Grizzlies (5-13, 0-2) on both ends of the floor before leaving midway through the third quarter.

“He’s gotten more physical since last season,” said Golden Valley head coach Myron Watkins. “He knows how to be physical and he knows how to attack the basket.”

That physicality, though, wasn’t there from the opening tip.

“The very first two plays, I wasn’t happy with him,” said West Ranch head coach Shant Bicakci. “He wasn’t going as strong as he should so we took him right out. When he came (back) in I said, ‘Every rebound should be yours,’ and he ended up dominating, which is how we want him to play.”

And Kaluna wasn’t the only Wildcat performing at a high level against the Grizzlies.

Zac Nuttall scored 13 points on 6-of-11 attempts, and Kevin Harris posted 12 points — all in the first half — on 4-of-14 from the field.

The Grizzlies, who saw their Foothill League losing streak extend to 12 games, were never able to keep up with the size of the Wildcats (8-8, 2-0).

Their first basket came with 2:15 left in the first quarter, with Wade Rodriguez scoring a team-high 12 points.

Joey Quintanilla added seven points for Golden Valley and Matt Castro scored five points.

“Unfortunately, we’re a small team,” Watkins said. “But I still like the fire in our team. You have to (not make mistakes). You can’t take seconds off. We have so much to cover on the court (because of our size) that we cannot make a mistake.”

West Ranch now turns its attention to Tuesday night, when it travels to Foothill League favorite Canyon, where it has won each of the past three seasons.

“I’m expecting the same attitude that our guys came out in this game with,” Kaluna said. “We’re not going to let anyone push us around. I take it upon myself to be physical. I’m just trying to send a message that you have to guard me.”

And that’s a message no one in the league is going to forget.


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