CALABASAS – The Westlake boys basketball team erased a 12-point, fourth-quarter deficit and beat Calabasas, 51-50, in a Marmonte League game on Wednesday night.
Grant Lozoya scored 15 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter. He scored the winning basket with 3.5 seconds left in the game.
Westlake (16-5) held Calabasas (15-3) to seven points in the fourth quarter and went on a 17-3 run in the fourth quarter to take a two-point lead, 48-46.
Lozoya was on fire in the fourth quarter. He hit a 3-pointer and made six field goals in the final period. But Westlake coach Rob Bloom said it was his team’s defense that provided the energy in the comeback.
“If we don’t hold them to seven points, we are in trouble,” Bloom said. “For us, that energized us enough. To hold them to seven was the key.”
Westlake had a one-point lead, 49-48, with 50 seconds left in the game. Holden Israel, who led Calabasas with 17 points, gave his team the lead with a little jumper in the paint with 11 seconds in the fourth quarter.
Westlake answered right back with the game-winning jumper by Lozoya. Calabasas had one last chance to win the game, but Israel’s 3-point shot at the buzzer hit the front of the rim.
It has been quite a bumpy month for Westlake. The Warriors had to forfeit a game against Agoura on Jan. 4. The Westlake junior varsity coach was ejected from his game, but was on the bench as one of Bloom’s assistants in the varsity game.
The Agoura coaches noticed the Westlake JV coach on the bench and asked the referees to have Westlake forfeit the game. Westlake won on the court, 73-67.
Instead of heading into the game against Calabasas with a 4-1 record in the Marmonte League, Westlake was 3-2.
“I’m over it,” Bloom said. “It’s hard to be totally over it when everyone asks about it. We’re here for the kids. I feel cheated, but I’m over it.”
Calabasas, meanwhile, was 5-0 in league heading into the game against Westlake. The Coyotes lost their first league game of the season and are tied with Royal atop the Marmonte League standings.
When asked if beating Calabasas will help people forget about the forfeit to Agoura, Bloom said, “I hope so.”
“We’re in the middle of league. We have no time to feel good about ourselves.”
Westlake plays Simi Valley on Friday night. Calabasas is home against Thousand Oaks.
To make the comeback against Calabasas more remarkable, Westlake was playing without Larry Bush, who needed 18 stitches after getting hit in the mouth in the game against Royal on Monday night. Bush is averaging 11.9 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.
“Only scoring 50 points on our home court, we’re not executing like we do,” said Calabasas senior forward Josh Cohan. “I think we’ll move on. We’ll bounce back against Thousand Oaks. We don’t plan on losing another game in league.”