Second-half surge propels Wildcats to 67-40 win over Maranatha
Maranatha played a strong first half, but Renaissance Academy shifted into high gear behind Treamaine Tatum, who scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half, and nine during a 15-0 run which extended the Wildcats’ lead from one point to 16.
Anthony Stover is becoming a scary player. Just a junior, Stover has grown a few inches from last year and is up to 6-foot-10. Who knows how much taller he can get, but his game has improved big-time since last season.
Above: Maranatha’s Ronald Cole, left, battles with Renaissance Academy’s Yader Combs.
Above: Renaissance Academy center Anthony Stover puts down a dunk.
By Scott Galetti, Staff Writer
PASADENA – Something had to give when Maranatha High School’s boys basketball team hosted Renaissance Academy on Wednesday night.
The Wildcats rode a nine-game winning streak into the contest, including a 32-point win over La Canada, while the Minutemen had a seven-game win streak on the line.
With a wild student contingent urging them on, the Minutemen appeared comfortable in the role of heavy underdogs.
The Wildcats used their pyramid of success – Justin Cook, Anthony Stover and Tremaine Tatum – to eventually wear down Maranatha in the second half en route to a 67-40 victory.
Tatum, a junior guard, scored a game-high 19 points to lead Renaissance Academy (19-2), the No. 1-ranked team in the CIF-Southern Section Division III-A, to its 10th consecutive win.
Stover, a 6-foot-10, 210-pound junior center, collected 18 points, seven rebounds and eight blocks, while Cook, a senior guard, chipped in with 15 points, eight assists and two steals.
Ronald Cole pulled the Minutemen (14-6), ranked No. III in Division V-AA, within a point at 26-25 early in the third quarter.
But Tatum and the Wildcats stole the show and exploded for 15 consecutive points to turn a close game into a runaway.
“Our coach gave us a big talk at the half and when we came back out, we were fired up and it seemed like we couldn’t miss,” said Tatum, who scored nine points in the sequence. “Our center Anthony Stover gave us a big boost in the second half and I think that’s what started the run.”
Stover, swatting shots away like flies and playing assertive on offense, scored 11 second-half points.
“Even though we were up in the game, we were down on spirit because we know we can outplay this team,” Stover said. “When we came out in the second half, me and Tremaine gave 100 percent on the floor and just took over.”
Cole led Maranatha with 13 points and Daniel Dingle scored 10.
Mark Elffers was held below his season average off 11.3 points per game, scoring just five.
“They’re an extremely good basketball team,” Elffers said. “Their center is an awesome player. We played a good game, but they just outplayed us down the stretch.”
Maranatha stuck with Renaissance Academy throughout the first half.
The Wildcats took their biggest lead of the half at 19-14 on a dunk by Stover off a lob pass by Cook.
But the Minutemen tied it at 19 behind a 3-pointer by Elffers and a layup by Dingle.
Renaissance Academy eventually took a precarious 26-23 lead into the locker room at halftime.
“We didn’t think that they could hang with us in the first half, so we were kind of surprised,” Tatum said. “In the second half we had to come out tough because they came ready to play.”
The Minutemen will be back in action on Saturday when they play at defending V-AA champion and No. 1-ranked Pacific Hills. Renaissance Academy goes to Reseda on Saturday.