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Poole sparks late 12-0 run; Cougars pick up second win

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Poole sparks late 12-0 run; Cougars pick up second win

Weston Ranch's Marcus Woods looks for an open teammate as Johanen's Malachi Batt applies the pressure.


POSTED December 17, 2009 2:12 a.m.
TRACY — CharRay Poole’s intentions were clear as he put his head down and took his first aggressive dribble toward the basket from the left wing.

Frustrated by Weston Ranch’s sloppy play that allowed Johansen to chop a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit down to four, 50-46, Poole barreled his way into the key and drew a foul while rattling in the layup.

He capped the 3-point play with a free throw with 1:50 left to spark a run of 12 straight points, and Weston Ranch held on to win its 21st Annual Tracy Winter Holiday Classic opener 63-51 Wednesday at Tracy High.

Poole finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and five steals to lead the Cougars, who dropped four of their first five non-league contests to start the season.

“We’ve come a long way, but we still have room for improvement,” Poole said. “We got comfortable, and we can’t play like that in a game.”

Weston Ranch will gladly take the victory against a quality opponent that came in at 5-2 despite its sometimes-shaky effort.

Head coach Ryan Bono saw his team play its best at the start of the game. The Cougars forced 12 turnovers behind their swarming press in the first quarter and didn’t let Johansen pull down a rebound for the first 6 minutes. All that culminated into a 19-6 lead going into the second.

“I’m really happy with the way we played in the first quarter — we rebounded and played defense,” Bono said. “That was our goal going in, to hold them to one-and-done (possessions), make them a jump-shooting team and we executed our game plan to a tee.

“But our tendency right now is to get complacent and get happy with the lead instead of finishing people off. We’re still in the process of learning how to play as a team and put four quarters together.”

The Cougars were ahead 47-32 after three quarters but was held scoreless for nearly the first four full minutes of the fourth.

Ronnie Collins — who contributed 11 points, eight rebounds and four blocks — converted the first of three straight key 3-point plays for Weston Ranch’s first points of the fourth with 4:02 remaining.

Johansen’s14-3 flurry to start the fourth ended with Jakiya Bradley’s 3-pointer from the left corner.

Weston Ranch guard Melvin Allen scored six points of his 16 points over the final 2 minutes to help keep the Vikings out of reach. He also had seven rebounds and three assists.

Ezekiel Batt poured in 15 points but was Johansen’s only double-digit scorer.

“There are some positives that we can take from this,” Bono said. “I liked the way we were able to close it out, we just need to do it sooner.

“To get this (win) was huge for us. It’s a confidence booster to get a ‘W’ against a good team.”

Weston Ranch faces Vallejo at 6 p.m. today back at Tracy High’s Swenson Gym.

Tracy 68, Lathrop 28
The early-season struggles for the Spartans continued, as they opened tournament play agains the host team, falling 68-28.

Umar Muriset led the Spartans with a double-digit effort of 10 points, while teammate Aivery Lewis finished with eight. Lathrop will continue tournament play with a 4:30 p.m. contest against Enochs High.
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