Cats run wild on Hill

WESTLAKE VILLAGE — Two days removed from a tough loss to open Harbor League play, the Renaissance Academy boys' basketball team had a potential pitfall awaiting in the form of sub .500 Besant Hill of Ojai in Saturday's Oaks Christian Shootout.

Yet, the only trap present was that of the hounding Wildcats' defense, which forced 21 turnovers en route to a 61-34 rout.

"This group has been playing together for a long time and even though we subbed a lot, everyone understands what's expected of them," Renaissance Academy Coach Sid Cooke said. "It's great when it comes together and you get this type of bounce-back win."

The Wildcats (18-3), top-ranked in Division VI of the CIF Southern Section, avoided their first losing streak this season after falling at Price, 68-55, on Thursday.

There was no doubt Saturday, as Renaissance Academy scored the first 10 points of the game and led, 14-3, after one quarter.

Besant Hill (5-9) missed its first nine shots and was held without a field goal until 1:12 left in the first quarter when freshman Max Metlen drained a three-pointer.

Renaissance Academy then iced the game in the second quarter, winning the period, 19-2, while forcing seven turnovers (three steals) as the Coyotes shot one for 10.

The highlight of the quarter, and perhaps the game, happened at the 1:37 mark when a rebound from freshman Kevin Dinges started a three-on-one fast break in which senior Rick Hilaire slammed home an alley-oop pass from Marquise Mosley to put the Wildcats up, 30-5.

"My role on this team is to keep pushing the ball and keep my foot on the pedal," said Mosley, who finished with a team-high 12 points and four assists. "The loss to Price really woke us up and told us to play harder."

Despite all 11 Wildcats rotating in, Renaissance Academy hardly lost any steam in the second half, having already taken a commanding 33-5 advantage into the half.

The Wildcats won the third quarter, 20-14, and took their biggest lead of the game of 38 points at 49-11 with 2:44 remaining after a three-pointer from Yendra Magloire.

The Magloire triple culminated a Wildcats' 8-0 run that included a three-pointer from Troy Fontanilla and a steal and coast-to-coast layup from Dinges.

Eventually, Besant Hill trimmed four points off its deficit before trailing, 53-19, at the end of the third.

Despite the score, Coyotes Coach Kevin Henschel thanked Cooke after the game for keeping the score much more respectable than it could have been.

"This was just dominant Renaissance play. They were just a lot more athletic than us or than any team we normally see," Henschel said. "This team really has the talent to go the whole way and they're really well-coached.

"I really respect the way their coach coached tonight. He did a great job of keeping the game in check and a great job of using this game as a teaching tool for his entire team."

Jessy Cantinol and Dinges both scored 11 points apiece, as 10 players overall converted at least one field goal for Renaissance Academy.

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