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Clutch free throws save WR from defeat

Sierra squanders opportunities by missing from line

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Clutch free throws save WR from defeat

Sierra's Jasmine Currimao hustles the ball up the court while Weston ranch's Timnesha Wilson applies the defense Thursday during VOL action.

JAGADA CHAMBERS/The Bulletin


POSTED January 22, 2010 2:36 a.m.
WESTON RANCH – There were plenty of opportunities for Sierra High girls basketball team to take control of its Valley Oak League contest with Weston Ranch, but the Timberwolves didn’t take advantage of any in their 49-41 loss Thursday.

Weston Ranch (5-2 VOL, 12-6 overall) did not put together that impressive of a performance, yet every time Sierra was able to pull itself within a basket late the Cougars responded.

“We didn’t have our game all night long,” Weston Ranch head coach Chris Bauer said. “We were a step slow everywhere we went, we were a little bit off on our rotations, but I challenged them at halftime.

“I told them if you want it you’re going to have to go get it and we responded.”

Sierra (3-4, 8-9) trailed 15-9 heading into the second period, but went into halftime with a 24-23 lead. The Timberwolves used clutch free-throw shooting to help close the gap, connecting on 6-of-8 from the line in the period.

The same effective shooting method Sierra used to close out the first half abandoned the team in the fourth, eliminating any opportunity of pulling away from Weston Ranch with the upset.

Even after assisting their own demise by missing 7-of-10 from the stripe in the final period, Stephanie Vanni’s layup with 56 seconds remaining pulled the Timberwolves within five.

“They put some of our girls on the line that are not some of our best free throw shooters,” Sierra head coach Steve Unterholzner said. “They picked the right people to foul and we just didn’t put the free throws in.”

The Cougars, on the other hand, cashed in on six fourth-quarter free-throw opportunities down the stretch, with five different players sinking at least one.

“I think our free-throw shooting played a part in our win because we hit them at the right time,” Bauer said. “Anytime we needed a free throw, jump shot or layup we were able to hit it.”

The Cougars got their usual standout effort from junior point guard Timnesha Wilson, who led all scorers with 15 points. Wilson scored 11 of the 15 in the second half, leading a group of three Cougars who finished in double digits.

Emoni Wilson and Courtney Duran finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively, and teammate Jazmin Strane chipped in with nine for the Cougars. Sierra got six points apiece from Vanni, Jaslynn Liotard, Shanedra Pitts and Alysia Atkins, while Michelle Arroyo paced Sierra with eight.

The Timberwolves, dealing with back-to-back losses for the second time in VOL play, will have to use the close defeat as momentum heading into a challenging home matchup with Central Valley Saturday.

“Our offense was working tonight,” Unterholzner said. “We just needed to stop them. We kept fouling them, which was not the plan, and they’re a good foul-shooting team. We had some great play from Shanedra and from Stephanie Vanni on defense.

“So there was some good play that we will be able to build on.”

Weston Ranch will make the trip to Oakdale to take on the Mustangs to continue its VOL grind on Saturday.
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