For Shawn DeLaittre, there is no place like home--Westlake High's home, that is. And that is bad news for the ever-so-humble folks at Westlake.
The Simi Valley forward made his first 11 shots and finished with 32 points to lead the Pioneers to a 74-65 victory over the Warriors in a Marmonte League game Wednesday night at Westlake.
DeLaittre made 13 of 17 field-goal attempts as the Pioneers improved their record to 20-3, 10-0 in league play. Simi Valley clinched its third consecutive league title with the win and snapped Westlake's five-game winning streak.
Big nights at Westlake have become tradition for DeLaittre. Last season, he scored 33 points in the Westlake gym.
"I don't know what it is," DeLaittre said. "Every time I play at Westlake . . . I love their place and I love to play here."
DeLaittre had to share that sentiment with Westlake's Kevin Logan, who made his first 10 shots, including six three-point shots, to finish with 31 points.
Neither player missed a shot until Logan's jump-hook rimmed out with 3:15 left in the third quarter. DeLaittre then missed for the first time one minute later.
Logan led all scorers with 25 points at halftime, more than half of his team's 40. He made all six of his three-point attempts in the half.
Six games ago, first-year Westlake Coach Greg Hess moved Logan from the backcourt to the front line in an effort to take advantage of his 6-7 stature. Logan, however, rattled the Pioneers early with his outside touch.
Simi Valley's Darren Aurand clamped down on Logan's run in the second half, limiting him to six points.
Aurand stripped Logan of the ball with one minute to play as Logan set up for a three-point shot that could have brought the Warriors to within a point.
Simi Valley center Don MacLean picked up the loose ball, was fouled and made two free throws to give the Pioneers a 69-63 lead.
MacLean, who entered the contest averaging 33.8 points a game, was held to 20 on 5-of-12 shooting. It was his lowest output of the season.
Westlake had pulled to within 65-63 with 1:37 left on two free throws by guard Bob Grandpre. But the Warriors mustered only two more points and the Pioneers made 6 of 8 free throws in the final minute.
Simi Valley guard Butch Hawking, who scored 17 points, made a three-point shot at the buzzer for the final points. Of his six field goals, five were from three-point range.
For Westlake (13-8, 5-4), Grandpre joined Logan in double figures with 12 points.
The loss dropped Westlake, ranked No. 10 in The Times' Valley poll, back into a tight five-team race for the final two playoff berths. The Warriors are tied for second with Channel Islands, which is also 5-4.
Westlake led by as many as three points several times in the second quarter, but a late surge by Simi Valley gave the Pioneers a 47-40 lead at halftime.