BURBANK — Just 16 minutes into a new season, strides had been made by the Renaissance Academy basketball team.
The Wildcats, who advanced to the CIF semifinals last season, graduated several key players. That's left Renaissance Coach Sid Cooke to mix and match in trying to find the right lineup combination for the young Wildcats.
Renaissance held strong in the first half, but came up short in the second as it suffered a 73-52 loss to Crenshaw on Monday night in a pool-play contest of the 42nd annual Bulldog Tip-Off Classic at Burbank High.
The Wildcats surrendered 48 second-half point against an experienced and talented Crenshaw squad that limited Renaissance to 22 points in the second half.
"The score is not as bad as it looks," Cooke said. "We were competitive, but I was looking for  minutes of consistency.
"Crenshaw's got a good team and we can get a lot better by learning from this game. We were more patient in the first half and then Crenshaw made some big shots in the second half."
Renaissance held a 30-25 halftime lead by forcing Crenshaw (0-1) to commit several turnovers. Then, the Cougars regained their composure in the second half by putting the clamps on the Wildcats. Crenshaw held Renaissance to nine third-quarter points to build a 47-39 lead.
"We had four or five turnovers in the third quarter and that changed the game," said Cooke, whose team will meet Burroughs in another pool-play game at 3:30 p.m. today. "They hit some three-pointers.
"We have got a young team and hopefully we will be peaking by the end of December."
Renaissance pulled to within 53-50 after Jessy Cantinol made three free throws with 5:05 left in the fourth quarter. However, Crenshaw's defense tightened up and held the Wildcats to two points the remainder of the game.
Early in the second quarter, Renaissance's Thierry Fredrick made two three-pointers in a row in a 67-second stretch to give the Wildcats a 22-16 lead.
Cantinol finished with a team-best 18 points and three steals before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. Teammate Anthony Coast added 12 points.
Darnell Taylor paced Crenshaw with a game-high 20 points and added eight rebounds. The Cougars also received 16 points from Roger Tubbs and 13 points and 11 rebounds from Daniel Hamilton.