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West Ranch hoops gets first league win

WIldcats best Saugus 56-52

Posted: January 21, 2014 10:58 p.m.
Updated: January 21, 2014 10:58 p.m.

That coveted first Foothill League win of the season can sometimes be the toughest one.

Even the two-time defending league champion West Ranch Wildcats boys basketball team learned that on Tuesday night in a 56-52 win over Saugus at Saugus High School.

West Ranch (8-11 overall, 1-2 Foothill League) made two crunch-time baskets in the final 1:31 to break a 50-50 tie and hold off a Saugus Centurions team that fell to 0-3 in league play.

“It’s been tough. We’ve had a hard schedule,” said West Ranch guard Alec Rodriguez. “There’s no doubt we should have won (last week’s) game.”

The Wildcats were coming off narrow losses to Hart and Canyon a week earlier, and although they led most of the way on Tuesday night, Saugus (9-12, 0-3) wasn’t ready to hand it over.

With the score tied at 50, Rodriguez made go-ahead floater via an accurate pass from Ryan Beddeo coming off a timeout. That put the Wildcats in front 52-50 at the 1:31 mark in the fourth quarter.

“We just wanted to get the ball in the paint and get the best shot we could,” said West Ranch head coach Shant Bicakci of the play. “We didn’t want to be picky.”

Following a pair of Saugus missed free throws, West Ranch extended its advantage to 54-50 with a Anthony Austin layup with 30 seconds to play.

West Ranch was eventually able to put the game away despite making just 5-of-14 foul shots.

On the other end, Saugus made 12-of-20 free-throw attempts in the game and 4-of-8 in the fourth quarter.

“They just executed on there (plays) and we missed ours,” said Saugus senior guard Jacob Tobon, who scored a game-high 17 points.

West Ranch distributed its points all around, with Jon Semerjian’s 10 leading the way.

After that, Beddeo had nine points and five assists and Rodriguez, Izayah Doyle and Ryne Williams all added eight points apiece.

“That’s when we play our best,” Rodriguez said of the spread-out scoring.

Early in the game, both teams had trouble hitting shots and finishing at the basket.

Saugus led 9-8 after a sluggish first quarter, and the teams swapped leads in the second with West Ranch taking a 28-22 upper hand into halftime following a buzzer-beating putback by Alex Weichel.

That was the biggest lead for either team at any point in the game.

Overall the Centurions made 36 percent of their shots. After Tobon, Amir Mirtabatabaie and Caleb Grisanti each scored 11 for Saugus, including Grisanti’s game-tying layup with 2:16 to play.


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