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Prep boys hoops: Time heals ’Cats’ night

West Ranch overcomes slow start in victory

Posted: January 30, 2013 1:55 a.m.
Updated: January 30, 2013 1:55 a.m.
 

All you’ve got to do with the West Ranch Wildcats boys basketball team is give them a little time.

They’ll figure out how to get things on track eventually.

After scoring just seven points in the opening quarter, the Wildcats recovered nicely and pulled ahead for a 67-59 win over a scrappy Canyon Cowboys team on Tuesday at West Ranch High.

“It’s embarrassing,” said West Ranch head coach Shant Bicakci of the slow start. “Anybody who paid should get their money back.”

Canyon (12-11 overall, 2-5 Foothill League) led 17-7 after the first quarter, and it built that lead to 20-8 early in the second thanks to stubborn defense that forced the Wildcats into 13 first-half turnovers.

But West Ranch (16-6, 6-1) gave its fans their money’s worth after that, going on a 17-2 run to turn a 12-point deficit into a 25-22 lead with just over two minutes to play in the second quarter.

“We definitely picked up the energy when we went on (that run), especially on defense,” said West Ranch senior Kyle Williams, who was a force in the paint in addition to scoring 11 points. “That’s our biggest thing in those situations.”

Ako Kaluna led West Ranch with a hard-working 16 points and teammates Kevin Harris and Cody Sanders added 12 each.

All of Sanders’ points were accounted for on four 3-pointers, which he made in limited action.

With the score tied 27-27 at halftime, the Wildcats again gained momentum with a 12-2 run to open the second half that included 3-pointers by Kaluna and Sanders.

That made it a 39-29 West Ranch lead at the 4:24 mark of the third.

“They hit their shots,” said Canyon head coach Sean DeLong of West Ranch. “We’re predicated on, ‘It’s tough to hit three, don’t give up easy layups,’ and we did give up a few layups.”

West Ranch continued to make shots and continued to pressure the Cowboys, who were led by Marc Cabrera’s game-high 17 points.

The Wildcats shot 59 percent and forced 18 Canyon turnovers.

Even when West Ranch led by double digits late though, the Cowboys wouldn’t go away.

Playing in just his third game since returning from injury, Canyon’s Dean Hendrix-Davis scored 14 points. Ben Taufahema added 10 points for Canyon.

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