Sean McKillop didn’t make any excuses after his first game as head coach for West Ranch basketball ended in a loss.
“We can’t use the excuse of being in transition and still trying to figure some new things out,” he said. “We’re going to have to draw a line in the sand with that.”
The Wildcats fell to 76-61 at home on Thursday night to a Camarillo team that wasn’t letting up baskets easily.
The Scorpions’ defense allowed them to take a 17-6 lead after the first quarter.
“They tried to deny me in the full court and we just tried to get defensive rebounds,” said Drew Austin, who finished the night with 15 points. “Just push it forward to get transition off.”
Austin broke through and hit two 3-pointers in a row in the second quarter to bring the score to 28-19, but it wasn’t enough to fully jump-start the Cats, who entered halftime trailing 35-29.
With seven minutes remaining in the third quarter, an Austin Galuppo layup pulled West Ranch within striking distance of a lead at 37-31.
Camarillo was heating up at the same time.
Jaime Jaquez Jr. scored eight points for the Scorpions in the third quarter and added 16 in the fourth.
“We had good gap defense right when he drove,” Austin said, “and just when he drives, put hand straight up but he got to the line a lot tonight.”
The Wildcats look to finish out preleague strong, with Foothill League play set to begin on January 12th. They’ll hit the road to take on Saugus.
“We’re not necessarily a well-oiled machine, but tonight it really wasn’t about that, to be honest with you,” said McKillop, who took over for previous coach Shant Bicakci earlier this month.
“We just got outworked all four quarters, which is not something that I recognize from these guys.”