West Ranch boys basketball made it 26 wins in a row and the benches cleared in a tension-packed Friday night win against Saugus.
Throughout the fourth quarter, Bryant would take his stars out of the game which left the Centurion bench and coach unhappy with Wildcats coach Jeff Bryant’s decisions.
“It got a little chippy,” said Bryant. “The Saugus coach made some comments that the players didn’t like and some towards me.”
Bryant says before the benches cleared the Saugus coach said “keep your stars in the game and see what happens.”
“That ticked our guys off and I didn’t want anyone to get hurt,” Bryant said. “It’s all about playing basketball and winning basketball games because that’s what we came here to do.”
After a 21-0 scoreline in favor of West Ranch in the first six minutes of the quarter, Saugus would find a small spark in their offense to make the game competitive.
“We knew coming into this game that it was physical and we understand that every team is gonna play their best against us so we wanted to come out and set the tone and that’s what we did in the 1st quarter,” said Bryant.
It’s once again Andrew Meadows and Jazz Gardner proving to be the all-stars of the Foothill League as the Centurions couldn’t find a way to stop the two big men despite Saugus coming out physical.
Gardner, the 7-footer, would prove to be the pain in the paint for Saugus after blocking 4 layup attempts against the much smaller Centurion offense leaving him at 2.4 Blk/G on the season.
The Centurions wouldn’t call it quits as West Ranch would go on a dry spell during the opening of the third quarter leaving the lane open for Saugus to cut the Wildcats’ lead from 40 to 30.
The dry run didn’t seem to last that long as West Ranch would continue to extend the lead after Jaqari Miles’ pinpoint shooting from beyond the arch would prove effective leaving the third quarter with a 39-point lead.
“I felt the momentum throughout the quarter and my jumper felt comfortable as I kept knocking down shots,” Miles said.
Miles now has 10 3-pointers on the young season.
Although the tensions were high towards the end of the game there was much love for West Ranch’s back-up center, Siddharth Sudan who put up 3 points and 1 rebound as the Wildcats’ crowd made the most noise for the player who doesn’t see the court as often as others.
“Siddarth is a fan favorite,” said Bryant. “He’s the president of the school and he’s just a good kid that treats everybody the same and he always comes to practice so anytime I get to put him in the game I do that.”
Shouts for Sudan to get the team to pass him the ball was the loudest chant of the night.
“Basketball isn’t my entire focus, but it’s nice to see the crowd cheer me on whenever they get the chance,” said Sudan.
The Wildcats would take the win 95-59 putting them up 2-0 in league play as they left Saugus at 1-1.
“We just want to keep the same energy for our next game. Valencia is a rival so we want to keep the same energy and go out in the first quarter and jump on them,” said Bryant.
West Ranch is set to play at Valencia and Saugus at Hart both on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.