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CIF basketball: ’Cats finish on low

West Ranch ends season with three straight losses

Posted: February 19, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 19, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 

The season was marked with highs and lows for West Ranch girls basketball.

The team couldn’t quite find enough points to get past Pacifica High of Oxnard Saturday at Pacifica High School, where the Wildcats lost 53-44 in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division IA playoffs.

West Ranch kept the game close most of the way though, but offensive struggles in the third quarter and turnovers plagued it in the end.

Unfortunately for the Wildcats (14-11), that was the case through the last two games of the regular season as well.

“I thought we played well, just not well enough,” said West Ranch head coach Randy Smith. “We had close losses to both Valencia and Saugus, so I feel like we almost got where we were playing good, consistent basketball. But it still didn’t quite happen like I’d hoped.”

The losses to Valencia and Saugus came after West Ranch’s upset victory over Foothill League champion Canyon on Feb. 3.

Against defensive-minded Pacifica (18-9) on Saturday, the Wildcats couldn’t find that same brand of basketball.

Whitney Branham led the Wildcats with 15 points and Hannah Green recorded 12 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.

With the Tritons holding a 20-16 lead at halftime, the offensive struggles began for West Ranch.

Too many missed shots and too many empty possessions allowed Pacifica to increase its lead to 41-27 by the end of the third quarter. 

“This is a team that we should have beat,” Smith said. “We definitely could have and should have beat them. We just couldn’t execute for much of the third quarter and that got us behind and we were just scrambling to get it together after that.”

The Wildcats fought back to within three points inside the 2:00 mark of the fourth, but the Tritons knocked down 6-of-6 free throws to put it away down the stretch.

Michele Arima added 12 points for West Ranch.

At times, the season seemed promising for the Wildcats, who lose three seniors with the conclusion of the season.

It wasn’t the finish they anticipated.

“We just couldn’t keep that intensity up in that last week,” Smith said.

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