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Straight Shooter

Westlake's Anderson Brings No-Frills Attitude to His Three-Point Marksmanship


WESTLAKE VILLAGE — Kole Anderson of Westlake High is not your average three-point shooter.

And not just because he's shooting a staggering 60% from behind the 19-foot 9-inch arc this season.

There is no swagger to the 5-foot-10, 140-pound sharpshooter's slightly pigeon-toed walk.

He doesn't showboat after hitting a big three-pointer and he rarely complains to referees, even if he feels he was fouled.

"He's quiet," Westlake Coach Rich Sanders said. "He listens and he observes. He'll go a week without saying anything in practice.

"Then, in the middle of a game during a timeout, he'll say, 'Coach, I think we need to move this player into a different position when we're running this play out of this set.' And he'll be right."

Anderson and Westlake travel to Whittier to play La Serna (21-7) in the first round of the Southern Section Division II-AA boys' basketball playoffs at 7:30 tonight.

The Warriors (14-9) have no intention of making a quick exit from postseason play, as they did the previous two years.

Westlake, which finished third behind Thousand Oaks and Agoura in the competitive Marmonte League, was routed by Compton Dominguez, 98-46, in a first-round game in 1999 and lost a playoff opener to Inglewood, 79-70, last year.

But Anderson and his teammates are confident they can win a few games and reach the quarterfinals, where they likely would meet top-seeded and two-time defending state Division II champion Dominguez.

"We didn't really have any expectations," Anderson said of Westlake's two previous playoff appearances. "We were just kind of expecting to go in there and get killed.

"But this year, we have a really good shot. We're equally matched with La Serna, so there's definitely higher expectations."

Anderson, a straight-A student who has applied to Stanford, California, UCLA, UC San Diego, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Washington, has helped create that optimism.

The second-year starter leads Westlake with averages of 16.6 points and 3.4 steals, and ranks second at 3.4 assists.

He is expected to break the school season record for three-point shooting percentage and his 90.6% mark on free throws has put him within striking distance of the school record of 91.9% set by Jake DeGennaro in 1999.

Not that the clean-cut Anderson is concerned with individual statistics.

"I've never really played just for stats or for myself," he said. "I basically play just to win. If I need to shoot a shot to help us win, I will. But if I don't, I'm not going to force things."

Call him a three-point shooter with a conscience.

"He's very reliable," said Westlake point guard Adam Mazarei, who met Anderson seven years ago as members of a Thousand Oaks travel team. "He's always there to help me [bring the ball up the court] if I need it."

Anderson's unselfishness has helped him improve his three-point shooting by nearly 24 percentage points for a team that has six players shooting 45% or better from behind the arc.

"I've had better shot selection," he said. "I've relaxed a little bit. Now I'm just looking for my shot when it's there."

Anderson is more than a shooter, however.

He'll drive the lane if given the chance and he's Westlake's best defensive guard.

He will try to keep Jason Koza of La Serna in check tonight.

"He will do whatever you ask him to do," Sanders said. "If you need him to focus on defense, he'll play defense. If you need him to score, he'll score. He can help you in a lot of ways."

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