PASADENA — It was just a summer league game, but St. Francis High standout Kyle Leufroy appeared extremely frustrated following his team's game against West Ranch at the Maranatha Summer Block Party on Friday.
“We're missing a lot of guys, but we shouldn't have lost that bad,” Leufroy said.
West Ranch defeated St. Francis, 58-52. The Golden Knight will now play Fairfax at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Leufroy wasn't shy in explaining why St. Francis came up short against West Ranch, falling to 1-2 in the tournament.
“We gave up a lot of offensive rebounds,” Leufroy said. “We missed a lot of easy shots. We didn't get back on defense.”
Rebounding was a serious issue for the Knights. With a significant size advantage, the Wildcats frequently grabbed second chances on the offensive end. But size aside, even loose balls were getting scooped up by the smaller guys from West Ranch.
“We didn't shoot the ball well, but that's not what killed us,” said St. Francis co-Coach Ray O'Brien. “What killed us was the amount of offensive rebounds we gave up. Granted they're a little bit bigger given the crew we have missing, but still I didn't think we boxed out very well. And just the amount of turnovers we had. We give them second chances and you're losing chances, then on top of that you don't shoot well, the statistics are not going to bear out a victory with that combination.”
St. Francis played catch up from the outset, falling behind, 10-2, early and 27-14 with five minutes to go in the first half. The Knights rallied, outscoring the Wildcats, 9-1, to pull to within 28-23 heading into halftime.
But just as it looked like the Knights had figured their opponent out, West Ranch opened the second half on a 10-0 run for a 38-23 advantage.
After digging a sizable hole, St. Francis battled back. Leufroy hit back-to-back buckets, including a three-pointer, and teammate Brodie Felkel added a pair of free throws to pull the Knights to within 55-52 with just under three minutes remaining. St. Francis wouldn't score again.
Leufroy, a rising junior who was named to the All-Mission League first team, finished with 23 points. Felkel added 11 points.
West Ranch was led by Alex Rodriguez with 16 points and six assists and Ryne Williams grabbed 13 rebounds.
While Leufroy pointed out his team needs to take better shots, have better transition defense and commit fewer turnovers, he focused on better rebounding as a key to future victories.
O'Brien doesn't see the team's challenges on the glass as strictly size related.
“You've got to rebound like a pack of wolves and we didn't rebound like a pack of wolves,” O'Brien said. “We didn't do much like a pack of wolves. We were slow to loose balls. I thought they were aggressive to loose balls. That's not size. That's heart and mental perpetration.”