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West Ranch basketball falls to a whole new beast

Prep hoops: West Ranch upended by red-hot Millikan in first round

Posted: February 21, 2014 10:56 p.m.
Updated: February 21, 2014 10:56 p.m.

West Ranch's Anthony Austin, right, drives the lane as Millikan High's Bryndon Wilson defends on Friday during the first round of the CIF playoffs at West Ranch High.

 

The West Ranch Wildcats boys basketball team was hot to end the regular season.

But in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1AA playoffs, West Ranch ran into a team that was on fire.

Behind a barrage of 16 game-changing 3-pointers, the Millikan Rams of Long Beach defeated the Wildcats 105-70 Friday night at West Ranch High.

“There’s really not much you can do when the other team (shoots like that),” said West Ranch head coach Shant Bicakci. “We kind of ran into a buzz saw.”

Six of those 3-pointers came off the fingertips of Rams senior guard Reggie Pope, including five in the first half.

Pope went 4-for-4 from behind the arc in the first quarter, which led to a 31-15 lead after the period.

He finished with a team-high 20 points.

“They played us in a 2-3 (zone) because we struggled with that in league,” Pope said. “But we’ve been practicing (against it), so we spread out, and were able to hit the threes.”

USC-bound small forward Malik Marquetti added 16 points for Millikan (19-8), while point guard Mark Thomas scored 14 points, including 4-for-7 from long range.

West Ranch’s Alec Rodriguez hit three 3’s of his own, as he scored a game-high 21 points.

Izayah Doyle and Christian Ware-Berry each contributed 14 points for the Wildcats (14-13).

The loss marks the first time since 2011 that West Ranch didn’t reach the postseason quarterfinals.

But Bicakci said the season wasn’t a disappointment after his team started 0-2 in league play and rallied down the stretch to finish second in the Foothill League standings.

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