Not even having two points taken off the scoreboard Tuesday was enough to prevent West Ranch from securing its first Foothill League girls basketball win, rallying for a 46-43 victory at Golden Valley.
The Wildcats (6-16 overall, 1-4 Foothill) ended the first quarter with what they believed was a 12-10 advantage. But at the end of the first half, when West Ranch appeared to be trailing by five points, both teams’ scorebooks credited the Wildcats with two fewer points in the opening quarter. As a result, officials adjusted the score to give Golden Valley a 25-18 lead.
Still facing a six-point deficit entering the fourth quarter, West Ranch outscored the Grizzlies 17-8, holding Golden Valley (8-13, 0-5) scoreless for the final 1:45, forcing three turnovers and receiving a crucial block with 18 seconds left from Ashley Woodhouse.
“It’s not just the win, but to win how we did, it was the greatest feeling,” said Woodhouse, who had seven points.
“It definitely took a lot of maturity and confidence because they are really aggressive, so we had to keep our cool and just keep fighting.”
Eleanor McQuillen, who didn’t receive credit for the first-quarter basket, scored 12 of her game-high 19 points in the second half to help the Wildcats secure their first league victory since a 62-46 win over Golden Valley last year. West Ranch, which received 15 points from Katie Joiner, defeated the Grizzlies for the third straight time after going 0-10 in league in 2015.
“We wanted this win really badly and to be able to get it, even with all that happened, it’s really good to prove people wrong and show that we can compete,” McQuillen said. “I know that I’m capable of it, but I just had to relax and trust my teammates and know they would be there for me.”
Serene Tyus led Golden Valley with 14 points. But after Tyus’ layup tied the score at 43 with 1:45 remaining, Joiner made a free throw and McQuillen hit two more down the stretch to secure the victory.
“We had to trust each other to handle our assignments,” McQuillen said. “Our guards Etana (Sesay) and Aaliyah (Austin) did an amazing job of keeping (Serene) scoreless for as long as they did.”
Golden Valley, which lost its 12th consecutive league game, managed only two points and missed five free throws in the final five minutes.
“We had like seven adverse situations that could have affected us, but I’m so proud of how they hung in there and how tough they were. It’s a testament to how close this team is,” said West Ranch coach Carlos Fandino. “They really have each other’s backs. This just shows what they can accomplish when they all work together.”
West Ranch has a rematch Friday with Valencia, which posted an 82-5 victory Jan. 10 in the league opener. The Wildcats are looking to improve against the Vikings, who have a 21-game Foothill winning streak.
“Just looking forward, we know we are going to get better,” Woodhouse said. “We know this season isn’t always going to be the best, but we have a lot of young players and in the future, we’re going to get better and that definitely helps keep us going.”
West Ranch junior Austin Galuppo set team and Foothill League records Tuesday with 51 points in a 73-58 victory over Golden Valley, but that wasn’t even the highest-scoring effort of his basketball career.
Galuppo recalled a game he played overseas in sixth grade in Italy when he was the only individual consistently shooting from behind the 3-point arc. Galuppo took advantage by making 18 3-pointers and finished with 69 points.
“This one felt so much better, especially with what was at stake,” said Galuppo, who became the seventh boys basketball player in the state this season to score at least 50 points.
“Chris (Kodama) and Suren (Aghazadian) had been carrying us, scoring like 20 points in every game. I didn’t care if I made another shot in league, as long as we kept winning. But now that I have my confidence back and everybody is hitting shots, we’ve got Valencia at home Friday and we’ve won three in a row and we’re headed in the right direction.”