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Sierra, Weston Ranch seek first NorCal victories

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Sierra, Weston Ranch seek first NorCal victories

Dylan Alexander and the Weston Ranch Cougars are heading to San Francisco tonight to open the NorCal playoffs against Mission.


POSTED March 6, 2013 12:28 a.m.

Sierra and Weston Ranch failed to capture their first Sac-Joaquin Section boys basketball championship last week, but both still have a chance to make school history tonight when the CIF Northern California Division III Regional Championships tip off.

Both squads are 0-2 all-time in the state tournament.

Sierra lost a 73-68 heartbreaker in overtime to visiting Miramonte (Orinda) last year, and in 2001 the 18-14 Timberwolves were dropped by Anderson 59-47 just days after suffering a buzzer-beating loss to Riverbank in the Sac-Joaquin Section finals.

Weston Ranch was drubbed by Burlingame 63-41 in its last NorCal appearance in 2011, but in 2007 the Cougars nearly stunned state-ranked Acalanes (Lafayette), 50-47.

Fourth-seeded Sierra (27-5) can host another NorCal game if it gets past No. 13 Shasta (15-12) tonight. Wade Gulden, a 6-foot-3 junior guard averaging 10.3 points and 5.6 rebounds, spearheads the Wolves along with Austin Ajamian (10.1 ppg), their best perimeter shooter.

Sierra and Shasta share a common opponent in Placer, a 58-38 nonleague winner over Shasta and 71-51 loser to Sierra in the SJS quarterfinals. The Sierra-Shasta winner faces No. 5 Sir Francis Drake (San Anselmo) or No. 12 Santa Cruz (19-11).

Weston Ranch (21-7) is the only team seeded in the top six on the road for its NorCal opener, as it faces San Francisco Section champ Mission (15-14). The No. 11 Bears appear to be a favorable match for the more battle-tested Cougars. But they could give Weston Ranch some problems with two players averaging at least 20 points in 5-10 guard Kevin Murray 5-9 Antoine Porter. Joji Kurotani, a 5-6 sophomore, is their third-leading scorer at 9.3 per game.

A win would advance Weston Ranch to a second-round matchup with Enterprise (Redding), which has a bye after capturing its sixth Northern Section title in seven years.

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