Rancho San Diego Steele Canyon has been predicted by some to challenge Grossmont for the Grossmont Hills League boys basketball championship this season.
The host Cougars played mostly like champions Friday as they opened the league season with a 63-49 victory over West Hills.
Steele Canyon made it look easy at the start, taking a 12-0 lead in the first four minutes. The Cougars maintained a 32-14 halftime advantage and it appeared a blowout was in the making.
West Hills made a second-half run but never got closer than nine points.
Steele Canyon had a distinct height advantage. Dominick Wood-Anderson, a 6-foot-4 sophomore and quarterback of the football team, had 16 points, 19 rebounds, three blocks and three steals to spark the Cougars.
“We’re not only tall, we’re athletic,” Wood-Anderson said. “One of the things that we don’t do well is finish strong. We usually start fast and then for some reason we become a little cocky and complacent. We can’t do that in league.”
Six-foot-6 Dylan Hamlett scored 10 for the Cougars.
“We need to become more mentally tough in the second half to become a complete team,” Hamlett said. “We have to finish a game like we start it.”