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Various Authors 11:01 a.m., April 23
Wolverines tied atop Palomar League after seven-point win
RANCHO BERNARDO – Through three quarters on Tuesday night, it looked as if the battle between Palomar League unbeatens Westview and Rancho Bernardo would come down to the wire. The Wolverines had other ideas, however, starting quickly in the fourth quarter to pull away from the host Broncos for a 68-61 victory.
“We were fired up after the third quarter and we just came out hard,” said Westview senior guard Blake Watkins. “We really wanted to put it on them in the fourth quarter so we could finish out the game and go 3-0 in league.”
Westview (16-4, 3-0 Palomar) scored the first eight points of the game and led 16-7 after the first quarter. The Wolverines’ 1-3-1 half-court defense forced a handful of Rancho Bernardo turnovers early.
“It was a mix between our 1-3-1 throwing off their offensive rhythm and their defense,” Watkins said.
Rancho Bernardo (11-10, 2-1) scored the first six points of the second quarter and rallied to take a 22-20 lead midway through the quarter on a putback by junior guard Lorenzo Mata. The Broncos got back into the game with pressure defense, and trailed Westview by four points at halftime.
“After the first quarter they switched up their defense and started pressing us like crazy, and we started off shaky and had a couple turnovers,” Watkins said. “After that we figured it out and started passing it around, and making layups and open shots.”
Westview led throughout an even third quarter, but Rancho Bernardo prevented the visitors from taking control of the game. The Wolverines had the lead headed into the final quarter, but only three points separated the teams.
“They’re a really really good shooting team, and they kept themselves in the game by making clutch threes and grabbing offensive rebounds in the paint,” Watkins said.
On the opening possession of the fourth quarter, Westview senior forward Sam Okhotin hit a three-pointer to spark a 7-1 run that put the Wolverines ahead by nine with four minutes left. Fueled by that opening stretch, Westview closed out Rancho Bernardo to remain undefeated in league play.
“It was a really really good game,” Watkins said. “I feel like they are going to come out and get us next time, but we’ll be ready for whatever they have to throw at us.”
Okhotin scored a game-high 21 points to lead Westview, and senior forward Patrick Govea finished with 19. Watkins added 13 for the Wolverines, who have won seven straight and are tied atop the Palomar league with Poway.
“We have to keep going hard in practice and not take a day off,” Watkins said. “We’re definitely a contender right now at 3-0. We’re on a roll right now and we have to keep that rolling.”
Four Rancho Bernardo players finished in double figures, led by senior forward Richie Orlins (16 points). The Broncos suffered their first loss in January, ending a six-game winning streak.
Westview – 68 (16-17-11-24)
Okhotin 21, Govea 19, Watkins 13, Williams 6, Pineda 4 (starters) McWilliam 3, Fabela 2
Rancho Bernardo – 61 (7-22-12-20)
Orlins 16, Arnell 10, Pierick 10, Brown 8, Sanati 2 (starters) Marrone 11, Mata 4
Pictured: Rancho Bernardo forward Stephen Marrone shoots a jumper over Westview forward Andrew McWilliam