By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
The West Ranch Wildcats (3-5, 0-3) started the 2022 season with five losses in a row. After Monday night’s win against the Thousand Oaks Lancers (4-7), the Wildcats seem to be turning their season around with now their third straight win.
The Wildcats have everything clicking for them at the right time as they head into the holiday break with a 57-35 victory against the Lancers and are expecting to get their transfers soon right before heading into January Foothill League basketball — a favorable perfect storm for a once-struggling team.
“We were able to execute on offense, which we weren’t able to do in the last couple of weeks before winning three games in a row,” said Wildcats head coach Carlos Fandino. “We wanted to put more pressure on them out of halftime and force everything to the sideline and run the ball from the middle for offense. We now head into the Burroughs tournament so we hope to keep this momentum going. It’s been exciting for us.”
The game remained close for the first half of the game entering halftime with a 23-19 lead for the Wildcats. Wildcats’ point guard Elora Kawasawa led the first-half scoring with 11 points but got taken out before the end of the half with a head injury.
Kawasawa would come back in the game at the beginning of the third quarter and finish with 20 points, five rebounds and five assists.
The Wildcats came out of the halftime locker room with the intention to suffocate the Lancers on defense, and that’s exactly what they did. The Lancers would be held to just three points in the third quarter.
To continue on with the aggression, Wildcats’ center Nadia Bernard found her groove, accounting for the team’s first 12 points in the third quarter. Bernard would finish the game with 23 points, five rebounds and four blocks.
The Wildcats cruised into the fourth quarter and held on to the commanding win.
“After halftime we brought home the win. This was definitely an important win for us,” said Bernard. “After I hit the first two shots, I got into a roll in the third quarter. Afterwards, I blocked everything out to help bring home the win for us.”