ONTARIO -- From a statistical standpoint, Wesley Saunders might not have had the best game of his high school basketball career during Saturday's Southern California Regional playoffs.
However, the senior forward from Los Angeles Windward did just enough to guide the Wildcats to a 58-52 victory over Westlake Village Oaks Christian in a Division IV championship game.
"Numbers don't always tell the story, especially when it somes to Wesley,'' Windward coach Miguel Villegas said. "There's no way to measure all the things he does well over the course of a game.''
When all was said and done, Saunders finished with eight points, nine rebounds and three blocks for the Wildcats (26-8), who played well early on and took a 29-18 advantage at the halftime break.
The Lions (26-8) were seemingly in trouble from the jump. Starters Chass Bryan and Blair Holliday began the game on the bench because of disciplinary reasons. Bryan, a point guard, finally entered play with 3:06 remaining in the first quarter. Holliday, a shooting guard, checked into the game at the beginning of the second quarter.
Oaks Christian made things interesting in the fourth quarter behind Taylor Hange, who scored nine of his 12 points in the final eight minutes of play as the Lions cut the deficit to one point with 5:46 left in the game.
The Harvard-bound Saunders answered, of course. He scored, was fouled on the play, and made the subsequent free-throw to extend the lead to six points with less than three minutes remaining.
"I came out an played my game tonight, that's what I wanted to do,'' Saunders said.
Nick Stover scored 12 of his 16 points in the first half of play for Windward.
Sean Ceglinsky covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.