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Prep boys basketball: Wildcats come alive in fourth

West Ranch rebounds after blowing big lead

Posted: February 19, 2013 10:10 p.m.
Updated: February 19, 2013 10:10 p.m.

Nothing was going right.

A missed layup here, a turnover there, a missed dunk there and a technical foul.

Soon, the West Ranch boys basketball team’s 13-point halftime lead disappeared.

Then a 3-pointer here, a dunk there and grit everywhere in the fourth quarter led the Wildcats to a 63-53 win against Huntington Beach on Tuesday night at Huntington Beach High in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division IA playoffs.

Now the Wildcats (21-6) are in the quarterfinals for the second year in a row.

“(After the third quarter), I spoke from my heart. We’ve been in this position before. We’re not at home. We’re battle tested,” said West Ranch head coach Shant Bicakci. “We were so mentally tough (in the fourth quarter). It was a gutsy performance. A gutsy win.”

West Ranch center Ako Kaluna led his team with 21 points, while Kevin Harris scored 13.

But their foul trouble and other factors made a 41-28 halftime lead a 45-all game going into the fourth quarter.

Also a major factor was the play of Oilers senior Andrew Tenbrink, who scored nine of his 14 points in the third quarter.

Huntington Beach (17-11) also made good on seven of eight foul shots in the frame.

But things turned around quickly in the fourth quarter on a Ryan Beddeo three for the Wildcats, two Kaluna dunks and a Harris three.

The Wildcats limited the Oilers to just eight points in the frame.

Now West Ranch gets 21-7 Dana Hills in Dana Point on Friday in the quarterfinals — the Wildcats final resting place of 2012.

“Just another gutsy performance,” said Bicakci on what he expects. “We don’t know how well we’ll shoot, but when the going gets tough the kids will lean on each other and get things going.”


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