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Prep boys hoops: Wildcats won’t crack

West Ranch pulls away after tight game in first half

Posted: February 6, 2013 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 6, 2013 1:55 a.m.
 

Led by 35 points from Kevin Harris, West Ranch Wildcats boys basketball held off a pesky Golden Valley Grizzlies team 86-76 on Friday at Golden Valley High School.

“We couldn’t take this team lightly,” Harris said. “We knew they were going to come out ready, especially on their Senior Night.”

While Harris was dominant throughout, teammate Ako Kaluna added 24 points of his own, including a rim-busting dunk attempt in the first quarter.

Attempting a dunk at the 6:30 mark of the first quarter, Kaluna snapped and broke the rim, which caused the basket to slant slightly downward.

After the play, the referees and coaches met around halfcourt and agreed to keep playing the game as is.

“I don’t think it affected the game too much,” said West Ranch head coach Shant Bicakci. “Before the game we were looking at the rim and it seemed like it was already broken. It looked like it shook every time somebody took a shot. I guess that’s what happens when a guy as big as Ako goes up strong.”

While Kaluna had a slow start to the game, Harris was the complete opposite.

The senior guard scored 10 first quarter points on 3-of-3 shooting, which prompted a 20-17 Wildcat lead after the period.

But Golden Valley (5-20 overall, 0-9 Foothill League) fought back in the second quarter with a 14-4 run that spanned 2:39.

The stretch was ignited by a three-point play from James Chevious and ended with the Grizzlies controlling a 33-28 advantage with 3:55 left in the first half.

However, Harris answered by knocking down three consecutive 3-pointers as the Wildcats (18-6, 8-1) answered with an 11-0 run in 2:07 to regain the lead 38-33.

The Grizzlies cut the deficit to 40-39 at halftime as Tristan Peralta banked in a 3-pointer from straight away as the time expired.

Harris had 19 points at the break, while Kaluna added eight.

At halftime, members of the Golden Valley faculty fixed and re-strenghtened the rim.

Kaluna started to make his presence felt in the third quarter as he scored 12 points on 5-of-6 from the field.

“He’s been consistent for us the whole year,” said West Ranch head coach Shant Bicakci. “He’s our big man in the middle, and he does a great job manning that middle.”

With the win, West Ranch has a chance to clinch a share of the Foothill League title at home against Valencia on Friday.

“We’ll take this win and celebrate it tonight, but tomorrow we’re getting back at it,” Bicakci said. “It’s the last time to play together for these seniors, so we just want to go after (the league title).”

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