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WR, Lathrop relying on talented point guards

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Third-year varsity junior Jazmin Strane provides Weston Ranch with one of the area's best post players on both ends of the court.

Bulletin file photo/

POSTED November 28, 2010 2:12 a.m.
When the Weston Ranch girls basketball team beat Sierra High to close out the Valley Oak League a year ago, the Cougars were hoping a postseason berth would be around the corner, but that berth never came.

They will ride the play of senior Timnesha Wilson to try and change their fortunes.

Meanwhile, Lathrop High fielded its first-ever varsity team last year and had something to build on with the dominating play of freshman point guard Jazlyn Simon. But Simon is no longer a Spartan, and Lathrop will have to turn to a new high school rookie to navigate the program.

Simon was the obvious leader of the Spartans a season ago, but an opportunity to compete in one of the nation’s premier program’s left Lathrop head coach Ed Fang with another miracle to perform.

“Jazlyn is going to St. Mary’s (of Stockton) now, and I had hoped to build the future around her, but we have to deal with the present,” Fang said. “I wish her all the best and I am sure she will get a quality education there.

“I have no complaints as far as somebody trying to get a better education and play for a program like that.”

St. Mary’s won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III Championship in a 75-45 win over Sacramento High last season, so Simon’s transition makes obvious sense for the sophomore standout. Fang is optimistic for her replacement, surrendering the point guard services over to another freshman with a world of talent.

Diamond Gomez grabs the reins, and Fang feels she is more than ready. The ball handling, scorer with “very good court vision” will lean on the senior leadership of Jasmine Elder and Brittany Rallios to help elevate the Spartan program.

“We are going to be a lot more competitive than we were last year,” Fang said. “Near the end there, we really started to play well, but with one of our main pieces missing we are going to have to rebuild.

“We are focused on building the program around the six players who have been in the program the past three years.”

Weston Ranch will have a definite positive with its point guard situation, returning all-VOL first teamer Wilson for her senior season. All-VOL second teamer Courtney Duran has graduated, but Wilson will have the services of Jazmin Strane (10 ppg) and Emoni Wilson (6.6 ppg/5.4 rpg) to help her divide the load.

“Timnesha has been our leader for the past couple of years,” Cougars head coach Chris Bauer said. “It’s just how she plays and how she carries herself in practice and in the game. We wanted her to become more of a vocal leader, and that has become great this year.

“Now, when she talks kids shut-up and listen, and that was a challenge we gave her.”

The Cougars understand East Union, Sonora and Oakdale will all be in the mix atop the VOL standings, yet Weston Ranch feels the necessary adjustments they needed to make to be amongst the top teams they have completed.

“We have practiced live and it has been a big change from last year and in years past,” Bauer said. “We are a lot more physical that we have ever been in practice. Kids are picking up on things a lot faster; it should be a good year for us.

“It will come down to how hard we practice and if we can keep our heads in a game for an entire four quarters.”

Weston Ranch will get some non-league action today when they host the Tokay Tigers for a preseason scrimmage. All three levels will be competing, with the freshman getting underway at 10 a.m.
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