Wildcats win despite uneven play

GLENDALE — When the Renaissance Academy boys' basketball team was running at full speed, Mary Star of the Sea simply couldn't keep up.

Only when the fifth-seeded Wildcats eased up on the throttle were the host Stars able to get within striking distance, a lapse that occurred too often during Renaissance's 56-40 second-round CIF Southern Section Division 5-A playoff win for Coach Sid Cooke's liking.

"We could have made it easier on ourselves and we didn't," said Cooke, whose team will host Pasadena Poly at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the quarterfinals. "But that's what happens in the playoffs.

"It wasn't a good game for us. We got careless. We got a lead and we got comfortable."

Jessy Cantinol led the Wildcats (22-6) with 14 points and Troy Fontanilla and Anthony Cost added 10 and nine, respectively, as Renaissance opened up a 12-point lead in the first half by pushing the tempo and getting out in transition.

"Our speed [was the difference]," Cooke said. "We got a lot of easy baskets in transition, we got rebounds and that's what we wanted to do."

But Mary Star of the Sea (12-16) had cut the lead in half by the end of the second quarter, as the Wildcats began to lose steam, Cooke said.

"We pulled away early, but we had too many turnovers again," Cooke said.

Renaissance used a 7-0 run to push its lead back up to 16 by the 5:00 mark of the fourth quarter and made enough free throws to render the Stars' press-and-foul defensive strategy useless.

"We started doing what we're supposed to do," Cooke said, "but I don't think we'll beat Poly if we [play like] this."

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