Boys' basketball: Ako Kaluna and West Ranch show they belong
If no one has ever heard of 6-foot-8 Ako Kaluna of Valencia West Ranch, they will know about him now after his performance on Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the Santa Monica tournament.
The 268-pound senior who signed with Northern Arizona shattered a glass backboard in the first quarter against Alemany with a dunk after a foul had been called. That forced an hour delay and move of the game to Santa Monica's second gym.
Kaluna continued to make his presence felt, finishing with 23 points and 21 rebounds as West Ranch (3-0) knocked off defending state Division III champion Alemany, 69-61.
Kevin Harris had 20 points and Ryan Beddeo added 13 for a team that now owns win over two top Mission League schools in the Warriors and Crespi. Brandon Boyd scored 17 points and Bennie Boatwright 16 for Alemany (1-1).
West Ranch is known for its relentless energy, and Kaluna played the entire game.
"I could have kept going," he said. "It's a huge win. It shows how good we are right now."
As for the shattered glass backboard, it was the third time he has broken a rim.
"I didn't mean to cause that much trouble," he said. "It gave my team an energy boost. It gave me a boost."
Here's the link to Youtube footage of the actual dunk.
-- Eric Sondheimer