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Cougars shake off tough week with big win

Weston Ranch cools hot-starting Mustangs

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Cougars shake off tough week with big win

Amber Bell sets herself in perfect defensive position.


POSTED February 4, 2009 5:02 a.m.
WESTON RANCH – Coming off back-to-back losses to the Ceres schools, a setback looking more and more understandable with each passing day, the Cougars had been hearing it a bit from their classmates at Weston Ranch High.

So with an opportunity to avenge a Valley Oak League-opening loss to Oakdale Tuesday night in south Stockton, Weston Ranch jumped at the opportunity and sank the Mustangs, 52-43.

Even more impressive was the way the Cougars got it done.

After falling behind 11-0 to start the contest, Weston Ranch toughened up on the defensive end, held the Mustangs scoreless for seven minutes and completed a 15-0 run to take back control.

Denell Fox’s offensive putback midway through the second tied it, and Courtney Duran then hooked up Timnesha Wilson for a layup that gave the Cougars their first lead.

“It was very important to get this win,” Fox said. “We had lost two in a row (coming in) and we had lost to (Oakdale) the first game in league.

“We don’t really care what people say at school. We always play as a family, so we just stuck together, even though we have some differences.”

Fox, who scored nine of her 13 in the fourth quarter, said the Cougars’ main goal Tuesday was to temper the hot shooting of Oakdale guard Cassandra Clark and hold center Jennie Paugh in check.

Weston Ranch succeeded on both counts, as Clark went for a harmless 13, and Paugh was flustered from start to finish, scoring just six.

Jazmin Strane and Fox were outstanding in the defensive post, collecting timely rebounds and never letting Paugh into the flow of the contest.

“That’s something we’ve been working on,” Cougars head coach Chris Bauer said. “Our freshmen (bigs) are 100 pounds soaking wet. But they did a good job moving their feet. They’re listening. They’re learning.

“It’s just a sign that we’re growing up.”

Wilson was once again electric from the floor, scoring a game-high 20 and drilling a rainbow three from the right elbow with 1:30 left in the fourth to make it 46-39.

“We started off slow, but we overcame tonight,” Bauer said. “We hit a few big 3-pointers when we had to. The kids came out excited in the second half and we did a good job.”

Fox’s layup with 30 seconds left put the game on ice at 49-43.

“Denell’s challenge with two minutes left in the third was play defense and get rebounds,” Bauer said. “She did that. She played well. She came in and got some big rebounds for us, played decent defense.

“She’s not doing too bad.”

Amber Bell finished with seven and was lights out on the defensive end.

Oakdale’s Hannah Stanton finished with eight.

Weston Ranch (5-4 VOL, 15-7 overall) travels to East Union Thursday.
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