WOODLAND HILLS — It wasn't pretty but it was a win nonetheless for the Renaissance Academy boys' basketball team, as it took part in the annual "War on the Floor Hoops One-Day Extravaganza on Saturday."
Playing in the early afternoon slot of the all-day event at Pierce College, the Wildcats won their sixth straight game in defeating the Brentwood Eagles, 52-50, as the two teams battled throughout a tightly contested second-half with an especially hard-fought fourth quarter.
Ultimately, it was a matter of pulling down key rebounds, and forcing turnovers at opportune moments that was the difference between a win and a loss for Renaissance.
"We're a young team, so we need to get used to playing this kind of event," Wildcats Coach Sid Cooke said. "We made some mental mistakes, but we also got some breaks, and we'll take it."
Renaissance's Jessy Cantinol gave the Wildcats (11-6) a 50-49 advantage with just over two minutes to go in the fourth quarter, which saw the Eagles claw back from seven points down early in the frame and tie the score on two separate occasions midway through.
Cantinol scored five points in the fourth quarter, but more importantly, perhaps, dominated inside and gave his team extra possessions, while holding his own on the defensive end.
Fortunately for the Wildcats, Brentwood (7-6, 0-2) went 0 for three from the field over the final two minutes, committing two costly turnovers, and missing two free throws that could have tied the game otherwise.
"We still have to learn how to control the game in those pressure situations," Brentwood Head Coach John Pugliese said. "But we had some wide open looks, we just didn't knock them down."
It wasn't always a nail-biter as the Wildcats had a 10-point lead going into the halftime break thanks, in large part, to stifling defense and an effective offense that allowed six players to get on the scoreboard Nick Troplant's six and five each from Anthony Cost and Jasper Wang paved the way.
Brentwood, however, outscored Renaissance 16-10 in the third quarter and made it a game again. Leland King set the tone and put in five of his 13 points.
The momentum carried over to the fourth quarter, but late mishaps ultimately did the Eagles in.
Brentwood's Tra Holder led all scorers with 23 points, but his two misfires from the charity stripe with less than 10 seconds remaining overshadowed his day overall.
Holder was fouled on a three-point attempt with the Eagles trailing 52-49.
Brentwood had another crack at it, but Leland King's shot as time expired came up short.
The Wildcats had three players score in double figures. Cantinol and Troplant led the way with 11 apiece, and Cost added 10.
Troy Fontanilla complemented his teammates well and added to the balanced scoring with a solid nine.
"We've been coming here for years," said Cooke. "This year, we're a young and rebuilding team and we need to do a better job of executing our offense moving forward."