BY STEPHEN LYNCH Special to The Californian
It's a rare basketball player that prefers playing offense over defense. But as Celeste West demonstrated on Wednesday night, she's definitely no ordinary player.
The 6-foot-2 Garces freshman dominated both ends of the court in leading the Rams to a 62-43 victory over visiting Tehachapi.
West had 26 points, 16 rebounds and five blocked shots during the showdown between the Southeast Yosemite League's top two teams.
"I like defense better than offense West said. "I don't know which one I'm better at yet, but I think my defense I pulled it out pretty good."
Rachol West, Celeste's older sister, tallied 18 points and seven assists for the Rams, who opened a 12-2 lead and were never threatened.
"We played good in the first half but in the second half we didn't play as well as we would have liked," Garces coach Tod Denison said.
"But we'll take the win."
Garces (19-2, 4-0) worked the ball inside to Celeste West continually in the first half and she delivered with 18 first-half points, including eight field goals inside.
"You can't teach height," Denison said. "...We just took what they gave us."
The Rams led 39-21 after making 14-of-29 shots from the floor in the first half.
Tehachapi (17-4, 4-1 SEYL), normally a good shooting team, was just 12 of 53 from the field.
"We played hard but we just didn't shoot very well," Tehachapi coach Renn Amstead said. "We also needed some help on the boards. We got out-rebounded big-time."
Most of the Warriors'offensive output came from guards Dani Peacon and Alyssa Garcia, who had 14 points apiece.
Peacon, a 5-foot-1 freshman, several times beat her defender off the dribble for scoring drivess.
But those were about the only points Tehachapi got inside.
Celeste West helped hold Tehachapi's two biggest inside threats Danielle Simpson and Rheanna Cowee to a combined 8 points.