Cats race past Hart

BURBANK — At the beginning of last season, Jasper Hwang wasn't familiar with the up-tempo offensive system run by the Renaissance Academy basketball team. He's making sure that he's on top of things this summer so things run smoothly next season.

Hwang, a junior shooting guard, appeared in control on the court during the Wildcats' summer opener in the Burbank Summer League at Burbank High against Hart on Thursday night.

Hwang came through with a team-high 15 points and Jessy Cantinol contributed 12 to lead Renaissance to an easy 61-29 victory.

Renaissance, which won the Harbor League championship before advancing to the CIF Southern Section Division V-A quarterfinals last season, struggled early with its shooting Thursday. The Wildcats missed 12 of their first 14 shots before Hwang helped turn things around for them.

"Before the game, the coaches were telling me to shoot more and I found my rhythm after I made my first shot," said Hwang, who made a three-pointer to tie the game at 6 with 5:02 left in the first quarter and ignite the Wildcats on the start of a 13-0 run. "Last year, I didn't know the system too well. Now I know it. I've been able to get stronger [physically] and improve my dribbling and defense."

Hwang had nine second-half points for the Wildcats, who held a 22-13 halftime lead and limited the Indians to 16 second-half points.

Renaissance Coach Sid Cooke said he's counting on Hwang to make the necessary adjustments throughout the summer to help him gain confidence leading the backcourt with Nick Troplent, who registered 10 points Thursday.

"We do want him to shoot, and he went out there and gave us a spark," Cooke said. "[The varsity level] was new to him last year and he started off well in some of our games early in the season, but then he tailed off.

"The summer [schedule] is going to be a project for him."

Hwang made another three-pointer with 5:37 left in the third quarter to extend Renaissance's lead to 27-17. He capped his effort by making a three-pointer with a friendly bounce to make it 40-19 with 1:20 remaining in the contest.

Cantinol, the reigning Harbor League Most Valuable Player and an All-Area first-team pick, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked three shots to further frustrate the Indians.

Renaissance received 10 points from guard Troy Fontanilla.

The Wildcats will next compete in another summer league game against Royal at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

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