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CIF basketball: Complete destruction

West Ranch controls game start to finish on way to CIF quarterfinals

Posted: February 22, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 22, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 

West Ranch’s second-round playoff game was over almost as soon as it started.

Goodbye, Edison of Huntington Beach.

Hello, top-seeded Mission Viejo.

The ninth-seeded Wildcats jumped out to a 17-0 lead and absolutely dismantled visiting Edison 101-65 on Tuesday at West Ranch High School to reach the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division IA playoffs.

Next up is a Friday home game against Mission Viejo, the division’s No. 1 team that beat Glendale 63-39 in the second round.

It’ll be a long bus ride for the Diablos. The same thing factored into West Ranch’s strategy against the No. 8 Chargers.

“We knew they were coming up from Huntington Beach,” said West Ranch head coach Shant Bicakci. “That’s a long bus ride. We said, ‘Let’s get off to a fast start and put them away.’”

Consider the message heard.

The Wildcats (17-10) looked like a vastly superior team right from the opening tip. Edison (20-8) relies almost exclusively on talented senior guards Dreon Barlett and Corey Foster, who came in averaging a combined 40.7 points per game.

Therefore, West Ranch made it a point to stop them. Point guard Bo Vaughn covered Foster, while off guard Clark Stokes checked Barlett, and the Wildcats doubled at the top of the key the whole night.

“We defended them well,” Vaughn said. “We didn’t want them to get their average. We knew we had to shut them down.”

The duo scored 30 points total, with Foster getting 17 and Barlett reaching 13.

That paled in comparison to West Ranch’s output.

Forward Ako Kaluna and guard Kevin Harris had typically strong scoring nights, but Vaughn really made a big difference. His pull-up jumper was on target, and he ran the offense efficiently, whether it was halfcourt sets or pushing the tempo.

“Bo might not have the numbers of Kevin or Ako, but he’s our quarterback, the soul of our team,” Bicakci said.

Vaughn didn’t miss a shot until the second quarter and finished 10-of-13 for 20 points to go along with seven assists.

That said, the smaller Chargers still had no answer for the 6-foot-7-inch Kaluna. They double-teamed him and then sent a third man on the catch to try and bat the ball away from his blind side.

It didn’t work. Kaluna bulldozed his way through the defense and finished with a game-high 29 points and added 15 rebounds.

Edison didn’t score until Foster hit a step-back jumper with 2:50 left in the first quarter. Barlett, meanwhile, didn’t score until he hit a driving basket about two minutes later.

The Chargers whittled the lead to 13 at one point, but they never seriously threatened.

“They’re just a good team,” said Edison head coach Rich Boyce. “We were a little short-handed compared to what they’ve got, but when they’re going like that they’re hard to stop.”

With Barlett and Foster unable to work off the double teams, Edison guard Cade Hernandez began attacking and scored 14 points.

For West Ranch, Harris shot 5-of-9 from downtown and scored 21 points, while forward Kyle Williams scrapped in the paint and scored 14 points. Nine different Wildcats scored.

This marks the second time in program history West Ranch has reached a CIF-Southern Section quarterfinal. In 2009, the Wildcats fell to Glendora 68-51 at home in the Division IIAA quarterfinals.

They have different plans this time around.

“This is a team I can see winning it all,” Boyce said. “They’re a tough out.”

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