Renaissance routs Besant Hill

WESTLAKE VILLAGE – Poor Besant Hill didn’t have a chance. The boys' basketball team from Ojai caught Renaissance Academy in between games against Price of Los Angeles and La Verne Lutheran, two of the best teams in the state.

Renaissance Academy showed little mercy.

The Wildcats jumped out to a 14-3 first-quarter lead and routed Besant Hill, 61-34, in the Oaks Christian Shootout on Saturday night.

Renaissance Academy (18-3) led 35-5 at halftime and didn’t allow Besant Hill (5-9) into double figures until midway through the third quarter.

Despite the blowout win, Renaissance Academy coach Sid Cooke said his team lacked energy, which could be troublesome when the Wildcats play La Verne Lutheran, ranked No. 3 in the ESPN Los Angeles rankings, on Wednesday night at L.A. Valley College.

It was the same level of energy his team had Thursday night in a 68-55 loss to Price, the No. 14 team in the ESPN Los Angeles rankings.

“In the second half, we played with Price,” Cooke said. “We had a couple open looks. The energy wasn’t there. Today, again, the energy wasn’t there. We have been preaching more energy, come out with more urgency. Our goal is to always play as hard as we can. I don’t think we did that the last two games.”

If the players lacked energy, the score didn’t reflect that. Renaissance Academy was up 10-0 before Besant Hill hit its first field goal. The Coyotes were 1-for-10 from the field in the first quarter and 2-for-18 from the field in the first half.

Renaissance Academy’s Kevin Dinges led the charge in the first half, with five points in the first quarter. He was one of three players from Renaissance Academy who scored in double figures. He had 11.

“The goal was to blow them out as much as we could,” Dinges said. “They have one good player. We just shut him down. Then we got the win.”

Yuri Howard, the top scorer for Besant Hill, struggled to find his shooting touch. He was 1-for-6 from the field in the first half, but came on strong in the fourth quarter and finished with 14 points.

Besant Hill’s Lukas Huberman led all scorers with 25 points, 21 in the fourth quarter. But by that time, it was too little too late.

“I told the guys, ‘You’re going to have one or two games like this a year.’ It’s not them, it’s you,” Cooke said. “You have to play hard regardless. It’s a good habit to be in. Unfortunately some of the guys I got upset with and I had to yank them. You gotta play hard.”

Marquise Mosley came off the bench to lead Renaissance Academy in scoring with 12 points and five assists. Jessy Cantinol had 10 points for Renaissance Academy, the top-ranked team in the CIF Southern Section Division 6.