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Wildcats show Tigers an exit

West Ranch uses a 16-1 start to bruise past Valencia of Placentia

Posted: February 21, 2009 1:23 a.m.
Updated: February 21, 2009 4:57 a.m.

West Ranch's Alejandro Castro (left) tries to steal the ball from Valencia of Placentia's Christian Mack Friday during the CIF-SS Div. IIAA playoffs at West Ranch High School.

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West Ranch continued its run through the CIF-Southern Section Division IIAA boys basketball playoffs Friday with a physical win over Valencia of Placentia 77-56 at home.

The Wildcats (17-11) jumped out to 16-1 lead on the Tigers, which had won their previous 13 games.

“We watched a lot of tape on (Valencia) because we wanted to be ready for this game,” said West Ranch forward Hakeem Bradley. “We knew getting out to an early lead was going to be important.”

Eight first-quarter points from David Franklin helped lead the Wildcats to a 26-12 spread after eight minutes.

“I think being down early rattled our guys a little,” said Valencia head coach Dean Yoshimura. “On the streak we’ve been on we’ve lead wire-to-wire in a lot of games, so being down big early was tough.”

It was a first half of big runs for West Ranch. The Wildcats pushed their lead to 19 with a 13-0 spurt late in the first quarter and early in the second.

“We were really pumped up for this game,” said senior wing Fernando Schiantarelli. “I think the way we played in the first half showed how much we wanted this win.”

West Ranch took a 20-point lead into the break before a chippy third quarter began.

“West Ranch just played harder than us,” Yoshimura said. “I mean I would love to be able to say the refs are why we lost, but it’s just not true. West Ranch is simply playing well.”

In all, 48 fouls were called. Valencia (19-9) was whistled for 27, including 17 in the second half.

The most controversial call came in the fourth when Schiantarelli was fouled hard by David Pina and took offense.

Schiantarelli, who had been knocked to the ground, stood up and exchanged words with Pina before pushing the Valencia guard.

A double technical was called, which served as Pina’s fifth foul and enraged the Valencia crowd. After several minutes of commotion, three members from the Valencia audience were escorted out of the building due to excessive verbal abuse directed toward the referees.

“This was a tough game, and both teams were getting after it,” Schiantarelli said. “When you get into a situation like that sometimes you have to let out some emotion, and that’s what happened.”

The double technical came with the Wildcat lead still at 14, and Valencia never got closer.

“I have to give a lot of credit to our crowd,” Bradley said. “They were great from the start, and I think that helped us get going like we did.”

Franklin led West Ranch with 16 points, and Schiantarelli chipped in 15. Christian Mack was the high man for Valencia, also with 15.

“Any time you’re in the final 16 you know it’s going to be a battle,” Yoshimura said. “I’m proud of what our guys have accomplished, but tonight we got knocked out of our comfort zone.”

Up next for West Ranch is a home game against the winner of Glendora and San Bernardino.

“To make it to the final eight is a great feeling,” Schiantarelli said. “We’re playing better right now than we have most of the year so we just have to keep moving forward.”


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