By John Honell, Correspondent
“It’s all for Ed,” said first-year Wilson High School girls basketball coach Tracy Calton, speaking about dedicating this season to longtime Wildcats coach Ed Bruyninckx, who died suddenly last summer. The Wildcats (12-6, 4-0) started slowly but dominated the second half Friday to knock off Baldwin Park 51-27 and take over sole possession of first place in the Valle Vista League.
The Wildcats trailed 10-1 with one minute left in the first quarter. Tiffany Lam scored on a layup and freshman Kaelyn Kawamoto came off the bench to hit a 3-pointer to close the gap to 12-6 at the end of the quarter.
“The first quarter was our quarter,” Braves coach Racquel Viramontes said. “(Kawamoto) hit that 3 and that changed the momentum. Our defense let up and we relaxed too much. We just didn’t play all four quarters.”
The Wildcats battled back to tie the score at the half, 17-17, then went on a 13-0 run to begin the third quarter to put the game out of reach.
“We tend to start slowly,” Calton said. “We weren’t aggressive on offense and kind of let them push us to where they wanted. We changed up and played a couple of different zones, as well as man defense. Tiffany Lam had a great game inside and Kelli (Calton) did a much better job of rebounding after that first quarter.”
The surprising Braves, (13-3, 3-1) who have not won more than two league games in several years, used a half-court trapping defense to create turnovers
and got a pair of 3-pointers from Stephany Mendoza to take the early lead.
“Knowing we were 3-0 seemed to make us play like we didn’t want to lose rather than trying to be aggressive,” Viramontes said. “Usually we fight back, but today I felt like we kind of shut down.”
Kawamoto led the Wildcats with 14 points, including 4 of 7 baskets from beyond the arc. Lam scored 11 points and Kelli Calton had eight to go with her domination the defensive boards.
“Kaelyn is going to be a good player,” Calton said. “But she missed practice yesterday so she didn’t start. She has to learn she can’t do that.”