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Patterson outmuscles Cougars

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Patterson outmuscles Cougars

Weston Ranch guard Rauline Martinez tries to dribble past the physical defense of Patterson’s Danya Hansen.

Photo by SEAN KAHLER/


POSTED February 28, 2014 12:46 a.m.

PATTERSON — For 3 ½ quarters, No. 6 Weston Ranch matched third-seeded Patterson stride for stride in a heated footrace for a spot in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III semifinals Thursday.

Two things made all the difference for the favored Tigers in the end: size and depth. They ultimately wore down Weston Ranch and prevailed 73-55, but the final isn’t a true representation of how well contested this game was.

“We battled, we executed our game plan, (but) we didn’t get the rebounds when we had to,” said Weston Ranch coach Chris Bauer, whose team was outrebounded, 53-32. “In the end of the third (quarter) and beginning of the fourth they started getting four, five and six shot attempts (in single possessions). We’ve been undersized all year, and their size and height just took a toll on us.”

Senior A.J. Brown did all she could to keep Weston Ranch (19-9) in the game, accounting for all eight of her team’s points in the final period. Her 3-pointer with 4:11 remaining closed the Cougars in 60-55, but that ended up being their last bucket of the season as Patterson (25-4) landed the knockout blow in the form of 13 unanswered points.

Brown finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals.

“She’s a great player who has a chance to play at the next level,” Bauer said. “For her to go out with the effort she did, I’m just real proud of her. She’s done a great job for us all year, and I can’t say enough about her and each and every one of these kids.”

Reserve center Ariyanna Cashen cashed in for Patterson, especially in the second half when she accumulated 11 points and 15 rebounds. The long-armed, 5-foot-11 junior totaled 17 points and 20 rebounds, well above her season averages, and 14 of her points were on put-backs.

Six-footer Mele Tupouata contributed 12 points, 12 rebounds, four steals and four blocks. Povai Fesili, another key reserve with size, made her presence felt in crunch time. She tallied seven of her nine points in the fourth, including two and-one buckets in the final 1:30.

Standout point guard Jovanah Arrington added 13 points and five steals for the Tigers, who had nine different players score.

“We have so much height and size and our big girls can play like guards,” Patterson coach Elizabeth Tolleson said. “That’s a huge advantage for us.”

It wasn’t always put to good use, as Weston Ranch stunned the home team with its game effort in the opening quarters. While Brown did most of her damage late for the Cougars, junior wing Elisabeth Alexander did hers in the first half when she scored 15 of her 17 points.

Rauline Martinez’s 3 gave the Ranch its first lead at 18-17 late in the first period, and Alexander buried two straight treys early in the second to keep the Cougars rolling.

“We just came out really flat. Weston Ranch had nothing to lose so they came out and played like it,” Tolleson said.

Patterson stole the momentum in the final minute of the half thanks to Cashen, scored six points in that stretch including a buzzer-beating layup that gave the Tigers a 37-34 halftime advantage.

Brown answered by scoring five straight points to start the second half. The 39-37 lead with 6:20 to go in the third would be Weston Ranch’s last.

That was when the Cougars’ lack of depth was exposed. Martinez (eight points), their per-game scoring leader for the season, was sidelined for most of the third quarter. About 30 seconds in she came out of a collision with a sore neck. And shortly after re-entering, she hobbled back to the bench with a bloody lip after a scrum for a loose ball.

Meanwhile, Alexander was slowed by foul trouble. She was whistled with her fourth infraction 41 seconds into the fourth and eventually fouled out with the game out of reach.

“For playing with seven or eight kids most of the year and being undersized in every game I’d say we had a pretty successful season,” Bauer said.

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