East County Sports

Pack defeat Sultans, remain unbeaten

Santana sophomore Bella Terry goes up with the ball against West Hills on Tuesday. / photo by Nicholas James

Santana blocks a West Hills shot on Tuesday. / photo by Nicholas James




By Nicholas James

Special to EastCountySports.com


SANTEE – The West Hills Wolf Pack defeated the Santana Sultans, 47-36, at Santana High School on Tuesday night in a meeting of cross-town rivals.

Early turnovers by the Wolf Pack squandered a 4-0 opening-minute run.

Santana’s Bella Terry blocks a West Hills shot on Tuesday. / photo by Nicholas James

Santana would tie the game after punishing bad pass attempts by West Hills.

Both squads played an aggressive man-to-man defense that relied on their transition defense and their opponents to miss early shots.

The first period ended with the Sultans up 10-8 after West Hills converted two free throws.

The Sultans raced to a 14-8 lead early in the second period, but West Hills came storming back with an 11-0 run towards the end of the first half.

West Hills scored most of its points during a run in the low post near the basket, where it was able to drive in and score on layups and free throws when they were fouled.

West Hills made a three-pointer to push its lead to four at the end of the first half to make it 19-14.

The third period was slow for both teams, as West Hills was unable to push its lead while Santana was finding difficulties catching up to the Wolf Pack.

The third period ended with the score, 26-20, in favor of West Hills.

The fourth period also started off slowly, with teams trading baskets but no major runs in the first few minutes.

West Hills senior guard Caitlyn Stayner controls the ball against Santana on Tuesday. / photo by Nicholas James

The last seven minutes, however, became a back and forth roller coaster.

The frenzy began with Santana going on a 10-4 run to tie the game at 30-all since early in the first quarter after a three-point play following a foul on a made layup.

After West Hills made two free throws, Santana made back to back three-pointers that caused eruptions through the crowd as its lead was four with less than five minutes in the game.

West Hills would go on a run, including a three-pointer, to push the lead to 41-36 after taking back the lead.

“West Hills runs its offense pretty thoroughly and will lull you to sleep before making a big cut to the basket or hitting a wide-open three,” Santana head coach Jordan Franey said. “It wasn’t anything new or anything we haven’t seen. When push came to shove, we fell down and never got back up, which is uncharacteristic of Santana Basketball.”

The West Hills Wolf Pack came into the game with a 2-0 record with their last game coming in a 51-39 win over Ramona on November 21. The win pushed West Hills to 3-0 of the season, their next game against Morse on Dec. 13.

The Santana Sultans came into the game with a 2-2 record after recording a win against Mar Vista, 66-27, on Nov. 30. Santana falls to 2-3 with their next game against Otay Ranch on Dec. 7.

“To be honest, we earned that loss,” Franey said. “We didn’t play hard. We talked a lot about pride at practice and what it takes to go out and win games and we didn’t show that. We lacked leadership, discipline, and allowed West Hills to dictate the game.  We haven’t found what speed we are comfortable at and successful in and so we allow other teams to force us into playing their style.

“I want so badly to give my kids all the confidence in the world to go out and play hard, but I don’t have that kind of drill up my sleeve. That’s going to come from trials and tribulations and yesterday was a trial and West Hills was judge and jury.

“With that said, I couldn’t imagine coaching any other team and now we are going to do what we do best. We are going to get back to work, continue to care for each other, and most importantly hold each other accountable. Our whole will always be greater than the sum of our parts and sometimes it takes a tough loss for us to find our way again.”

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