LOS ANGELES — Momentum mounted against the Renaissance Academy boys' basketball team in a vicious manner Thursday evening, sending the Wildcats' 15-game winning streak to a screeching halt.
They trailed by as many as 18 points before the break and never managed to recuperate, dropping the Harbor League opener, 68-55, to host Price at the Billy Blanks Youth Activity Center.
Renaissance Academy, ranked No. 1 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division VI poll, dropped to 17-3, while the Knights, No. 5 in Division IV-AA, improved to 16-5.
"We just didn't come out mentally ready," Wildcats Coach Sid Cooke said. "A couple bad plays, things compound themselves."
In the opening half, the Wildcats tallied seven of 10 turnovers, including a pair that led to consecutive transition dunks.
Price's Trey Dickerson (game-high seven assists) fed a streaking Skylar Spencer (16 points) for a one-hand jam. And on the next play, Chris Martin made an acrobatic save to keep the ball in bounds at midcourt, where Aaron Roseboro found Chance Murray (11 points) for a two-handed stuff.
After the two plays, Renaissance Academy endured its biggest deficit of the night, 28-10, with 5:32 to play in the half.
"I don't think our kids have played these types of athletes in a while," Cooke said. "They're one of the top teams around. They're a little bit bigger, a little bit faster than us. We're used to being somewhat faster than teams we play. So, overall, this was a good game for us to get ready for league."
The Wildcats trimmed the deficit to 10 plays, with senior power forward Jessy Cantinol draining three three-pointers in the second quarter.
He scored 10 points of Renaissance Academy's 16 second-quarter points. He finished with a game-high 30 (five from behind the arc), two steals and a blocked shot.
Nick Troplent added 10 points, nine rebounds and three assists, and Vince De Guzman scored nine.
The Knights had three players score in double-digits, with Jaquan Green (nine points) falling short of becoming the fourth.
Khail Johnson led the way for Price with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
The Wildcats were outmuscled on the boards, 35-26, and in transition.
"I think we gave up 10 layups," Cooke said. "But I have no complaints. We've played 10 ranked opponents and beat eight of them. So, we're hoping we learn from this and continue to get better."
Renaissance Academy faces Besant Hill on Saturday in the Oaks Christian Shootout.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times