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WR gets historic win over Indians

Win is West Ranch’s first over Hart in boys basketball

Posted: January 23, 2009 10:09 p.m.
Updated: January 24, 2009 4:55 a.m.
It took a while but West Ranch finally broke through against Hart in boys basketball.

For the first time in school history, the Wildcats defeated the Indians, topping Hart 86-77 at West Ranch High on Friday night.

"It's huge. It is the one we wanted," said West Ranch's Beau Martin. "We remember those losses from the last few years and we really wanted this one."

After a first quarter that ended in a six-point West Ranch lead, the Wildcats (13-7, 2-2) turned on the defensive jets to race past the Indians, stringing together a 23-10 run from the second quarter into the middle of the third that effectively put Hart (13-8, 2-2) away.

West Ranch used its aggressive press to slow Hart and cause easy fast breaks.

"They played harder than we did all night," said Hart head coach Tom Kelly. "They beat us to loose balls. They had more second shots and they were more aggressive."

The run started innocently enough when Hakeem Bradley scored a layup in transition, and added a free throw for a 40-34 lead. Then, after a Wildcat turnover with two seconds left in the half, the real game-changing play occurred.

As Hart was inbounding the ball, the Wildcat defense caused the inbounder to wait four seconds before forcing a bad pass that landed in West Ranch shooting guard Elias Lucas' hands.

Lucas took the ball right to the hoop and dropped in a layup while getting fouled at the buzzer. The free throw fell through for a nine-point lead and placed all the momentum firmly in the Wildcats' side of the court.

"We were just pressing and he passed it right to me and I put it in," Lucas said. "It gave us a lot of momentum heading into halftime."

In the second half, Fernando Schiantarelli knocked down a 3-pointer just 15 seconds into the third quarter and West Ranch was off and running.

Thanks to six third-quarter Indian turnovers, West Ranch kept up its transition game and when Bradley drilled two free throws with 1:40 left in the quarter ,the Wildcats took their biggest lead at 60-44.

In the fourth, Hart battled back to seven points down, and began finally cutting down its own turnovers, but it wasn't enough to overcome the large deficit.

"Why didn't we play like that all night?" Kelly said of Hart's fourth quarter intensity. "We'd better learn that we'd better play harder if we want to win in this league."

On the Wildcats' side of the floor, the constant pressure that forced turnovers and easy transition buckets was exactly what they had been waiting for all year.

"This is how we want to play every night," Martin said. "If we lost this games it would have been a dagger. We had to have this game if we want to try to win league."


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