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Surprise? Not to Them

Posted: February 18, 2008 10:47 a.m.
Updated: April 20, 2008 5:04 a.m.
Four rings, then a voice message.

"Hi, you've reached Sean. Leave me a message, I'll get back to you as soon as I can."

It's been a common occurrence this boys basketball season.

Call West Ranch head coach Sean LeGaux, get four rings and a voice mail.

It's either him being understandably busy or him brushing off the phone call.

If it's the latter, it's also understandable.

LeGaux hasn't been too happy with us.

We've done wrong to him it seems.

Either we weren't there at a Wildcats game or we labeled the West Ranch boys basketball team the worst label you can give a team, apparently - a surprise.

The fact of the matter is this - the West Ranch boys basketball team is good - very good.

Yet many people still don't understand them.

Maybe we don't and it's our job to.

But West Ranch is a quiet team, maybe driven by a lack of attention.

On, the national prep sports Web site, the Wildcats are the only team among the six Foothill Leaguers to not list statistics.

So it makes the individuals less visible - which is how the Wildcats play.

Everyone attacks on defense, everyone attacks on offense - almost a track meet from baseline to baseline.
There is no superstar on the team.

Guard Malik Bradley was an All-Foothill League first-teamer in 2006-07, but every night this season the Wildcats have received seemingly equal production from other individuals.

It will make it extremely difficult come season-ending award time to tab one or more of these players for all-league and All-Santa Clarita Valley teams.

But that, in a sense, is a compliment.

The biggest compliment you can say about this team is that it is a team.

On Friday, West Ranch upset No. 14 seeded Chaffey in the CIF-Southern Section Division II-AA playoffs 75-64 on the road.

Chaffey has a few stars.

Davie Champagnie scores 18.2 points per game and pulls down 11.1 rebounds.Freshman guard Jordan Daniels averages 10.1 assists.

You can see them on YouTube as Daniels tosses a pass off the backboard in a game and Champagnie rocks the rim with a thunder dunk.

Champagnie, in fact, is featured in a couple of videos.

But star power didn't win out.

Team basketball did.

It was a surprise victory in a year of surprises for the Wildcats.

The ignorant expects the superstars to trump the well-oiled machines.

But we've been proven wrong in basketball.

The San Antonio Spurs are a great example.

The media refers to them as a boring dynasty.

But the media isn't always right and in this case, if that mentality has been shown to the West Ranch Wildcats - the media is wrong.

Not saying that we've had that mentality with the Wildcats, but our thought has been that this team has done the unexpected.

They beat Canyon, a perennial league title contender, in the first game of Foothill play, and did it convincingly 68-56.

It was West Ranch's first-ever league win after an 0-10 debut in 2006-07.

Then they beat title-contender Saugus.

Then they beat future league champ Valencia.

Then they finished league play in third place.

But it was with resent that LeGaux took the "surprise" label.

After all, he believed in his team.

Maybe others didn't.

But isn't it a surprise when a team, in just its second season of varsity play, goes from 4-22 to 19-8?

Ask LeGaux and his team to answer that question.

All you'll get is a ring and a voice mail.

Their play on the court will have to do the explaining.

Cary Osborne is The Signal's sports editor. He can be reached at His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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