By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
The West Ranch Wildcats were without their star small forward Andrew Meadow who has been averaging 20 points per game on the season. Even without his firepower, the Wildcats showed why they are the No. 1 team in the Foothill League.
The Wildcats (11-6, 4-0) beat the Canyon Cowboys (11-6, 3-3) on Friday thanks to the help of their star-studded supporting cast.
“Canyon came out and wanted to win the game, they played hard,” said Wildcats head coach Jeff Bryant. “They could’ve easily won the game and they should’ve won. We got to be better. Our skill, which really started to show in the fourth quarter, is what won us the game.”
Jaqari Miles and Bryce Cofield combined for 20 of the team’s 30 first-half points alone while also racking up six total rebounds.
The Cowboys hung around with their grit and even took a six-point lead early in the second quarter, but the Wildcats clawed back to take a 30-29 halftime lead.
Matt Heyne led the Cowboys in the first half with 10 points.
The second half remained just as intense with the Wildcats ending the third quarter with still just a one-point lead (50-49). The fourth quarter proved to be the storyline of the game, setting up for a classic finish.
With about five minutes left in the fourth quarter, Heyne rolled his ankle and would sit out for a little over a minute. Heyne, who hobbled off the court, would emerge back onto the court to help keep the Cowboys alive and finished with a team-high 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Jakob Regez finished with 14 points and six rebounds. Brandon Boldroff finished with 10 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals and hit a miraculous layup with 10 seconds left in the game to keep the game within three points.
The Wildcats’ firepower remained overwhelming all game long. James Evans finished the game with 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Bryce Cofield finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and two blocks, and Jaqari Miles finished with a game-high 27 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Miles knocked down eight clutch free throws in a row to keep the Cowboys at least three points away for a majority of the fourth quarter.
“I was blocking all the noise out and trying to focus on the free throws,” said Miles. “I was just trying to hit the free throws. It was a great team win. Could’ve done better but it’s something we can continue to learn on.”
With under 10 seconds left to play, the Cowboys had one more shot. Heyne drove up the ball and handed it to Brandon Ritter for the 3-point basket. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, the shot missed and it would be the final shot of the game.
The Wildcats looked to keep their hot streak going on Monday against St. John Bosco while the Cowboys looked to bounce back against Burroughs on Saturday.
“I was proud of the ways our guys battled all game. They clearly wanted it,” said Cowboys head coach Ali Monfared. “We’ve been in a lot of games against good teams and were down seven or eight points. The goals this week was to try to close that gap, and I think we are heading into the right direction.”