Westlake boys basketball beats Thousand Oaks to take control of Marmonte League

WESTLAKE — The Thousand Oaks and Westlake boys basketball teams entered Friday night’s Marmonte League game with identical league records that placed them at the top of the league standings.

It was a big game, but Westlake senior Danny Bao had an inkling.

“As soon as I woke up, I knew it was a good day,” he said.

Westlake won, 65-60, to take sole possession of first place in the Marmonte League.

Bao scored 20 points and the Warriors (21-5 overall, 7-1 in Marmonte League) played physically in the paint, especially on defense. They keyed in on Trent MacLean and Elias Chin to limit Thousand Oaks’ scoring while making their own shots in critical moments.

Thousand Oaks (20-6, 6-2) held a lead for the entirety of the first half until Bao hit a 3-pointer with 38 seconds left — a basket that came as the result of a turnover.

The Warriors took a 33-30 lead heading into halftime.

“I already hit two 3s in the first half, so I was confident and I was open,” Bao said. “I knew if I made it, it would be big.”

The Lancers found enough comfort among the physical play of Westlake to earn a 10-point advantage with less than two minutes left in the first quarter. MacLean blocked a shot, then made a 3-pointer to get ahead 18-8, then Elias Chin went in for a layup.

Thousand Oaks beat Westlake 72-59 in their league meeting on Jan. 12.

“We tried to preach just being patient,” Lancers coach Logan Baltau said. “The first game we played them, we were really patient. In this game, we didn’t have a lot of poise or control to us.”

MacLean made a two-handed dunk with 45 seconds remaining and scored on a midrange jumper to close the opening frame with momentum.

MacLean started off the second quarter with a turnaround jumper but appeared injured toward the end of the half and momentarily was taken out of the game. He came back with roughly one second left, but Westlake had already gained its advantage.

Westlake outscored Thousand Oaks 21-8 in the second quarter, and Dante Deshautelle scored nine of his 17 points in the third quarter to provide a spark. His reverse layup put the Warriors up 44-33 with four minutes left in the frame.

Thousand Oaks closed the scoring gap in the fourth quarter, but was consistently pushed into uncomfortable positions on the perimeter. Chin was the only Lancer to find the basket, aside from a few stray free throws, and scored 14 points to close out the game.

“Our second quarter kept us in the game,” Westlake coach Kyle Kegley said. “They came right at us, they kind of punched us first. We talked about mental toughness for 32 minutes and those kids showed mental toughness.”

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