HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL : Westlake Completes Its Run for Share of Championship


Well, at least they're consistent.

The Westlake High boys' basketball team again played an average first half, then came out of the locker room inspired and cruised to victory.

Westlake beat Simi Valley, 68-62, in a Marmonte League game on Friday night at Westlake, in large part because of a 22-9 run after halftime.

The victory clinched a share of Westlake's first Marmonte League title. The Warriors (18-4, 11-3) finished tied for first with Agoura, which beat Royal Friday night. Westlake defeated Agoura twice.

"It feels great," said Westlake point guard Steve Aylsworth, who also played for the Warriors' league-champion football team. "First we did it in football and now basketball. This was terrific."

Aylsworth, who was signing autographs and shaking hands amid the postgame celebration, scored 14 points and dished out eight assists.

Matt Smiley led Westlake with 16 points.

The difference in the game, as it has been for the Warriors throughout the season, was the third quarter.

"All year it's been that way," Aylsworth said. "We just needed to get running and get our game going and we did. We took control of the game."

Westlake led by just three after a see-saw first half. The Warriors came out in the third quarter and made six of their first eight shots, the only misses coming from three-point range.

Simi Valley (19-5, 9-5), which finished in a third-place tie with Royal and is still guaranteed a playoff spot, made just two of 16 shots in the third quarter.

Westlake outscored the Pioneers, 16-4, in the quarter. They continued the dominance into the fourth, pushing the lead to 60-42.

"I don't know what it is," Westlake senior Billy Miller said, "but we play all right in the first half and then really step it up in the second."

Westlake stepped it up, but after building the 18-point lead, slowed it down, allowing Simi Valley to give the Warriors a minor scare.

Westlake seemed to go into a slowdown offense, trying to hold the ball while the clock ticked down toward a league title, but Simi Valley forced turnovers and went on a 13-2 run, pulling to within 62-55 with just over two minutes left.

A three-point basket by Scott Schnetzler and a layup by Anthony Tauriello at the buzzer gave the Pioneers a cosmetic six-point loss.

Schnetzler led Simi Valley with 15 points.

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