In a battle between the third- and fourth-place teams in Foothill League play, Canyon boys basketball faced off against West Ranch at West Ranch on Friday.
Coming out of the gate with defensive intensity, Canyon scored four quick points and forced West Ranch into putting up bad shots and turnovers leading to an early game timeout by West Ranch head coach Ron Manalastas.
“They came out fast, they got 4-0 on us off the bat and I had to call a timeout.” Manalastas said. “We told our guys to prep them for what Canyon might do and match their intensity. I told these guys in practice someone is coming out 3-3 or 2-4. I settled the guys down after the timeout and did what we did best, bang the boards.”
Trailing by one point after one quarter, West Ranch was able to find a rhythm for the next three quarters to come away with a 51-40 victory.
The Wildcats’ Alex Grant led the charge for West Ranch (14-8 overall, 4-2 in Foothill League) in the first half, scoring 10 of his 12 points in the game by hitting two 3’s and crashing the glass to create numerous second-chance opportunities.
“I haven’t been shooting well lately, but I just came out with a positive mindset and play as hard as I can and see how it goes from there,” Grant said.
Canyon’s Willie Yomba, Ryan Sloan and Connor Cooper did the most they could, shouldering the scoring load for the Cowboys to score 14 points in the first half.
Yomba finished the game with a team-high 10 points, Sloan had five and Cooper chipped in four points.
“I thought we played really, really hard,” said Canyon head coach Sean DeLong. “We just struggled to score at times and struggled to box out as much as we wanted. Sometimes you have to be perfect against the bigger teams and we are still striving to get there.”
Down 25-14 to begin the second half, Canyon (9-15, 2-4) was able to cut the deficit through its 3-point shooting with some sharp shooting by Anthony Gallo and Anthony Regalado.
West Ranch’s Deaken Stangl answered scoring 10 of his 12 points in the quarter to keep the Cowboys at bay heading into the fourth quarter.
Down by eights points, the Cowboys ramped up their defensive intensity once again to climb back within four points of the Wildcats at 39-34 with 6:05 left in the game.
Down the stretch, West Ranch was able to pull away with Carter Williams getting into the lane scoring six of his eight points in the quarter and Dylan Stuman going 4-of-6 from the free throw line.
“We struggled early but we picked it up,” Grant said. “Carter stepped it up big today, which we needed, and everybody coming together and playing hard. This team has come far from where we started, so it’s cool to see where we are at now.”
Both teams resume league play on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. as the Wildcats take on Saugus at Saugus and the Cowboys host Golden Valley.
Hart 75, Golden Valley 66
Hart’s Joey Harand had 18 points (six 3’s), Jesse Barrientos had 12 points and Isaac Deedon 11.
Hart improves to 7-15 overall, 2-4 in Foothill League while Golden Valley drops to 3-17, and 0-6 in Foothill League.