By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
The Santa Clarita Christian School Cardinals (16-8) have set the precedent for Santa Clarita Valley high school basketball over the past five seasons. The Cardinals had won the state and CIF playoffs in the 2018 season while also making it all the way to the CIF finals in 2019 before losing.
The West Ranch Wildcats (17-7, 9-0) are looking to be the new face of SCV basketball and dethrone the Cardinals. With a resounding 81-67 victory on Thursday, they are well on their way.
“This is a big win for us. To be like SCCS is where we want to be,” said Wildcats’ head coach Jeff Bryant. “They have been the top dogs for many years and sent multiple guys to play Division 1. We came out slow against them in the first half while they came out strong and well coached. We had to make adjustments and we did it.”
The two teams were even after the first quarter, tied at 17, but the Cardinals would quickly jump out to a 34-24 lead before the end of the second quarter. After a pep talk from Bryant to his players, the Wildcats quickly went on a 9-0 run before the end of the half but were down 36-35 heading into the halftime locker room.
The Cardinals’ Isaiah Fields led all players with 16 first-half points while the Wildcats were led by Andrew Meadow with 11 points.
With key adjustments, the Wildcats took over the game, outscoring the Cardinals 27-11 in the third quarter on the way to a fourth quarter lead with SCCS unable to spark a comeback.
James Evans finished with 18 points and seven rebounds. Jonathan Fisher ended his night with 13 points, six rebounds and four steals and Jaqari Miles finished with 10 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Bryce Cofield finished with six points, four rebounds and five assists and Meadow ended his monster night leading all players in points (31) and rebounds (8).
“We had a good game,” said Meadow. “We’re just looking to get ready for playoffs next week and looking to make a big push. It means a lot to show what we can do against a top team for the past couple of years. It feels good to beat them and show how we’re going to take over.”
The Cardinals were led by Jaden Tengan with 21 points and six rebounds. Fields finished with 20 points, six rebounds and two steals and Maurice Wright finished with 13 points, six rebounds and six steals.
“We got a little stagnant,” said Cardinals’ head coach James Mosley. “They did a good job pursuing us with their athleticism and size. You have to play a certain way to be successful against them. We handled it well at times but ultimately, we got worn down. The ultimate goal for tonight is to get ready for Division 1 playoffs.”