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Foothill basketball: Battle 'Cats

W.R. uses experience to advantage

Posted: January 8, 2013 9:28 p.m.
Updated: January 8, 2013 9:28 p.m.

West Ranch's Kevin Harris (21) shoots against Hart defender Andrew MacArthur (4) at Hart High on Tuesday.

 

The way West Ranch describes it is that the Wildcats were just more battle tested going into the Foothill League boys basketball opener against Hart at Hart High on Tuesday.

And because of it, the Wildcats were more poised and in control and thus defeated the Indians 70-63 in front of an overflow crowd.

“We faced pretty tough competition. We knew they were 14-0 coming in, but they haven’t played teams and been in situations we have,” said West Ranch senior guard Kevin Harris.

Harris was a major difference maker through the game’s first three quarters.

In a matchup of arguably the two best guards in the Foothill League, Harris won out over Indians junior Lewis Stallworth.

Though Harris said he doest look at individual matchups, it was his efficiency and calm that gave the Wildcats an advantage over the Indians.

In comparison, Harris scored 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting with four 3-pointers and Stallworth scored 18 points on 7-of-26 shooting and one 3-pointer.

Hart (14-1), an athletic and fast team that is at its best when it’s attacking the basket, was a jumpshooting team on Tuesday, and died with the jumpshot.

The Indians were 3-for-21 from beyond the 3-point line.

“I think we got good shots, we just couldn’t stick them,” said Hart head coach Tom Kelly. “They got a lead and played comfortably.”

West Ranch (11-4) jumped out to 9-0 advantage in the first quarter, scoring on its first four possessions.

Hart managed to pull back thanks to tough play by power forward Stanley Wilder, who scored seven of his 11 points in the first quarter.

Wilder also played tough defense on the 6-foot-7-inch, 275-pound Ako Kaluna throughout the game.

Hart trailed 20-18 after a quarter, but its inefficiency got to it in the second quarter and Kaluna started pounding the Indians inside.

A 22-10 second quarter, keyed by eight Kaluna points, extended the Wildcats’ lead to 42-28 at halftime.

West Ranch also got contributions from Cody Sanders, who drained two 3-pointers in the frame, and power forward Kyle Williams who was strong for the Wildcats inside and outside.

A tight third quarter led to the fourth, where Hart got as close as 69-63 with 30 seconds left, as Stallworth started to attack the basket with success.

But his next attempt inside with under 20 seconds was blocked by Kaluna — signalling the end for the Indians.

Kaluna had a game-high 24 points.

“We’ve been in this situation so many times. In Sacramento, in Santa Monica (in the preleague season). We need our seniors, Ako and Kevin to make big plays. This is nothing new to them,” said West Ranch head coach Shant Bicakci.

Hart received 15 points from Myles Franklin and 13 from Davis Koppenhaver.

Now the Indians have been in this situation, and they’re battle tested.  

Round 2 between these two teams is Jan. 25 at West Ranch.

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