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Tartans tame Wildcats’ press

Glendora uses big early run to push its way past West Ranch

Posted: February 25, 2009 1:42 a.m.
Updated: February 25, 2009 4:55 a.m.

West Ranch's Will Tate (13) is guarded by Glendora's Jon Healy (25) on his way to the basket during the second half at West Ranch High School.

 
Glendora boys basketball ended West Ranch’s run through the CIF-Southern Section Division IIAA playoffs Tuesday night, dropping the Wildcats on their home floor 68-51.

The Tartans (24-7) survived an early push by West Ranch (17-12), and the Wildcats’ relentless pressure to advance to the semifinals.

“I thought that handling their pressure was what got us this win,” said Glendora head coach Mike LeDuc. “Calvin (Smith) did a great job of taking care of the ball and finding us some easy shots.”

Smith along with Kosmond Russell led the scoring charge for Glendora with 19 point apiece, while Brad Gatlin chipped in 17.

David Franklin was the high man for West Ranch with a dozen, while Beau Martin had nine and Hakeem Bradley dropped in eight.

“It was a tough game for us,” said West Ranch senior Will Tate. “We knew what they were going to do, and our coaches had us prepared, but we just weren’t making our shots.”

West Ranch did make its shots out of the gate, building a 10-4 lead midway through the first quarter, but an extended period of cold shooting allowed the Tartans to go on a 24-4 run that stretched into the second quarter.

“Their zone forced us into taking too many 3s and outside jumpers,” Tate said. “When you’re up against a defense like that, and you don’t make your shots, it doesn’t matter how you play defensively.”

The Wildcat press helped West Ranch stick around, and the Glendora lead was cut to eight by halftime.

“They’re a very good team,” LeDuc said. “They’re well-coached, and they make the game difficult for their opponents. Their pressure never let up.”

Glendale continued to battle the West Ranch pressure in the second half, steadily stretching its lead until a Calvin Smith turnaround jumper right before the third-quarter buzzer pushed the gap to 16 points.

“They had very good teamwork tonight,” said West Ranch forward Hakeem Bradley. “They moved the ball well, and made the extra pass when they needed to.”

West Ranch pulled within 10 thanks to a 6-0 run to open the fourth, but back-to-back Glendora treys from Russell and Juan Martinez pushed the game out of reach for the Wildcats.

“I always say that winning a basketball game is one part luck, one part the matchup and one part the players you have,” LeDuc said. “Tonight we got lucky that they weren’t hitting their shots.”

Up next for Glendora is a Friday matchup Leuzinger, while West Ranch will turn its thoughts to next season.

“We had a dozen seniors on this team so it’s tough to see it all come to an end,” Tate said. “Still, we’re proud of the run we made, and that we were able to pull this season together. We gave it our all.”

kdamore@the-signal.com

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