BURBANK — Looking to at least duplicate last season's successful run to the CIF Southern Section Division V-A quarterfinals, the Renaissance Academy boys' basketball team has scheduled stiff competition during the summer league.
Quality programs such as Thousand Oaks, Cleveland, Alemany, West Ranch and Taft have shared the hardwood with the defending Harbor League champions, who have been looking to implement younger players to much of last year's core group.
With just over a week ago remaining in summer league action, Renaissance tipped off against Harvard-Westlake on Thursday afternoon at Burbank High, and cruised to a 67-40 win behind steady offense and defense that led to poor shooting from the Wolverines.
"We've been playing a lot, so we're starting to get it a little bit, and they were missing a couple players," said Renaissance Coach Sid Cooke after getting past the squad from North Hollywood, which dressed only seven players.
It was a relatively easy win for the Wildcats against the short-handed Wolverines. Renaissance led throughout the contest, and controlled the game from the get-go. Harbor League Most Valuable Player and All-CIF selection Jessy Cantinol's eight first-quarter points led the way for Renaissance who led 24-11 on crisp 11-20 shooting.
Both teams struggled in the second with Renaissance putting up just 11 shots, making five mainly due to turning the ball over six times. Harvard-Westlake cut the lead down to 32-23 midway through the quarter before Cantinol pulled down an offensive board and put in his 11th point to put the Wildcats back up by double-digits.
The struggles from the field continued in the third quarter for Renaissance, as it shot just five of 16, but held the Wolverines to two for 10. The Wildcats won the quarter, 12-7, and closed out the frame on a 7-0 run.
Junior shooting guard Jasper Hwang scored 10 of his team-high 16 in the fourth quarter. Renaissance put the game away on eight of 18 shooting, while Harvard-Westlake struggled from the field, connecting on just three field goals.
"We practiced hard before the game, so we were ready for this game," said Cantinol, who finished the game with 11 points. "We're learning how to play with new players, and want to learn from last season's mistakes."
Wildcats freshman Marquise Mosley added seven points off the bench.
"We're going to wrap it up pretty soon," said Cooke of the summer league that had the team seeing success with an undefeated run in the Oaks Christian Shootout as an example. "By September, we'll begin to re-evaluate and hopefully we'll be pretty good this year."