By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
For The Signal
West Ranch Wildcats boys basketball (8-0) dominated Canyon (3-6) 72-56 en route to a win and their first league championship in eight years on Tuesday night.
West Ranch was led by Senior Corey Colfield, who poured in 21 points and grabbed six rebounds.
The Wildcats pressured the Cowboys for most of the game. Canyon managed to scramble through the press and get open looks early, but the team couldn’t score. The relentless defense of West Ranch led to offense quickly. A run of seven unanswered and six unanswered opened the first two quarters and caused immediate Canyon timeouts each in less than a minute of play.
Canyon was hurt by miss after miss and struggled to capitalize on several early West Ranch turnovers. Senior Miles Davis’ 25 points would be huge for the Cowboys, but it was never enough to close down the gap in his final home game.
West Ranch forward James Evans sparked early from deep, providing a big perimeter threat for a team with no issues scoring in the paint. Evans finished with 13 points, mostly from the 3-point line.
“James Evans, the freshman, he’s a three-level scorer,” said West Ranch head coach Jeff Bryant. “He can score inside and out. When he’s going we’re hard to beat.”
The gap widened as the game went on as the Wildcats got scoring from all over the roster, with seven players finishing with four or more points. Sophomore Andrew Meadow was strong in the trenches, scoring 15 and grabbing eight rebounds.
Canyon was pressured until about the three-minute mark of the fourth quarter. But even with the starters all out, pressure called off and the game in hand, the tenacious team kept fighting for each point on both sides of the ball. Even a hard foul that sent Colfield to the floor and out of the game wouldn’t keep him on the bench for more than a couple minutes.
“We want to try and go out every game and send a statement,” Bryant said.
The players and staff were yet to celebrate at Canyon after their win, as Valencia’s eventual loss to Hart would clinch the title for West Ranch. The team will have two more games to chase an undefeated regular season followed by the CIF playoffs. The Wildcats are still yet to finish a game with less than a double-digit lead and have a 20-point average margin of victory.
“It definitely feels great to have all these accomplishments that I worked for over the summer,” said Meadow, “but the job’s not done yet. I’m waiting for that ring.”