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‘Cats moving on, up

Posted: January 21, 2009 9:31 p.m.
Updated: January 22, 2009 4:55 a.m.
The West Ranch girls basketball team pulled off the shock of the Winter Foothill League sports season by defeating Valencia Tuesday night 64-57.

It was shocking because the Wildcats, in four seasons, have never beaten a Foothill foe except for Golden Valley.

But there was so much more to the victory.

In mid-October, as the season quickly approached, head coach Ron Manalastas abruptly resigned.

For a span of nearly a month, the team was without a head coach.

Manalastas continued to teach the girls during the basketball class, but the girls were far behind that of other teams.

"During class time, they'd meet but weren't really doing anything," said Randy Smith, the team's eventual coach. "On odd days, they just went home."

After going through the hiring process, Smith - who also coaches cross country and the distance events in track and field, came aboard just a couple of weeks prior to the season.

That meant a new system and a new attitude and little time to implement everything.

"It was frustrating for the kids and parents," Smith said.

That frustration ended Tuesday.

After picking up one win due to Canyon forfeiting, the Wildcats are 2-1 in the Foothill League and 9-9 overall.

"I don't want to overblow this win, but it does a lot to help the team find where they are," Smith said.

Valencia played the game without its premier player, Starla Wright, who was recovering from a concussion.

Nonetheless, the Vikings still are a formidable force without her.

West Ranch even got it done with its premier player, Erin Ruiz, not leading the way.

Brittani Walker, a junior forward, bursted onto the scene by scoring 18 points and grabbing seven rebounds.

On top of that performance, Kaylyn Tarver, a junior swing player, scored 12 points, pulled down 11 rebounds and had four steals.

Hello Wildcats.

Hello Vikings, as well.

The Valencia girls soccer team is the only team perfect after three contests in the Foothill League.

Nicolette Smith's two goals Tuesday led the Vikings to a 6-1 win over West Ranch, giving Valencia a 3-0 mark in league.

Saugus is close, though.

After a 7-0 victory over Golden Valley, the Centurions have only one blemish - a league-opening loss to Valencia.

"That was the low of lows," said Saugus head coach Lisa Rollo of the 4-2 loss to Valencia on Jan. 13.

Since then, Saugus has found itself.

Jamie Molacek scored another goal Tuesday, her fifth in league play.

Boys soccer continued its weird season Tuesday, as Valencia and West Ranch dueled to a 0-0 tie.

Saugus and Golden Valley also tied 2-2.

That leaves Valencia and Saugus without losses.

And Canyon continues to benefit.

The Cowboys defeated Hart 2-0.

Canyon also has zero losses.

But the Cowboys have three wins.

Canyon hosts Saugus Friday at 4:45 p.m.

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


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