There's still two weeks left in the regular season before the CIF Southern Section Division III-A playoffs begin for the Renaissance Academy boys' basketball team, which will attempt to claim the program's first CIF crown after appearing in the title game the previous three seasons.
For now, the Wildcats are ranked No. 1 in the latest CIF poll.
Renaissance Academy showed why Monday afternoon during a 64-47 nonleague home victory against Brentwood.
Four athletes scored 10-or-more points to help the Wildcats (21-2) win their 12th consecutive contest. Renaissance Academy last lost Dec. 19, when it suffered a 58-57 nonleague road loss to Etiwanda.
Coincidentally, Renaissance Academy starting guard Josh Thomas suffered a knee injury during that game. Coach Sid Cooke said Thomas should return to the lineup prior to the playoffs by seeing limited playing time in nonleague games against Community Charter on Feb. 7 and Mission Prep on Feb. 8.
Cooke and his players recognize the significance of being the top-ranked team in their division. However, the games still need to be played.
â€œIt's been a long season,â€ said Cooke, who got a game-high 20 points, nine rebounds and five blocks from junior center Anthony Stover and 16 points and eight assists from senior guard Justin Cook. â€œWe've had guys playing out of position because of injuries.
â€œWe've had some good games and some bad games. We don't really talk [about being No. 1 in the division] because we know there's a long way to go.â€
Renaissance Academy junior forward Hector Harold agreed with Cooke.
â€œIt doesn't really matter because we were No. 2 last year,â€ said the 6-foot-7 Harold, who collected 12 points and six rebounds. â€œIt just means that we might get an extra home game or two.
â€œThere's always the confidence issue. We played a sloppy game [Monday], but we know that we are battled tested.â€
Renaissance Academy led throughout most of the game before Brentwood (11-10) made a comeback attempt in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats closed out the game on a 15-4 run.
Renaissance Academy built a 31-22 halftime lead. Stover had 12 first-half points and three blocks to pace the Wildcats, who posted an 81-56 road victory against Reseda on Saturday in an intersectional contest.
A three-pointer by Harold gave Renaissance Academy a 38-28 lead with 4:42 left in the third quarter.
Brentwood got a fine effort from towering center Peter McMillan, who finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds and five assists while matching up with Stover. Mack Frazier added 16 points and eight assists.