The Weston Ranch High Cougars may be young, but they’re an experienced basketball team.
They drew from that experience at Friday’s Valley Oak League game at Lathrop, overcoming a 22-point deficit early in the third quarter to claim a 78-75 win.
“We had three players on the floor at the end of the game tonight who weren’t with the program,” said coach Chris Teevan.
Included were Antwann Taylor, Charles Jemison and Donjae Lindsey.
Taylor, who was at Manteca High, scored 11 of 13 points in the second half. He also had 10 rebounds and four steals.
Jemison was on campus but didn’t play hoops last year. The 6-foot-2 swing man chipped in with 12 points, five boards and three steals.
Freshman Lindsey was in junior high a year ago. He had 10 points along with three steals.
Those three along with Makhi Turner and Devin Small helped fuel the second-half comeback. Turner had a team-high 24 points and seven boards and Small hit for 13.
The Cougars (7-1 VOL, 15-6) got off to a tough start against the Spartans.
“It had more to do with our shot selections — we were taking some quick 3s,” said Teevan.
On the other hand, Lathrop (3- 5 VOL, 6-14) was in its game, scoring 12 unanswered points in the first led by Dafford McKenzie, and Colin Weis, who drilled a trey in that run.
McKenzie led all scorers with 25 points — he also had 12 rebounds including seven on the offensive glass, two steals and block — while throwing down a pair of dunks in the second half
Isaiah Victor also had a strong first half. He finished with 20 points and seven rebounds.
Weis and Amiel Adams added 12 and nine points, respectively, for the Spartans.
Coach Craig Ward was proud of his team’s play, especially with the ball movement on offense. McKenzie whipped a pass to Victor, who, in turn, hit the cutting Adams to the basket towards the end of the first.
At that point, Lathrop had a 17-4 lead.
The Spartans made it 24-9 after Noah Thierry pump faked his way for an open 3.
McKenzie had a putback and Weis hit a pair of free throws to give Lathrop a 39-21 halftime lead.
“We wanted to continue to play aggressively in the second half,” said Ward, whose team also had a 19-10 rebounding edge at the break.
Weston Ranch push the tempo in its favor, coming up with turnovers and getting better looks at the basket along the way.
Small delivered on a pair of 3s, with Taylor, Lindsey and Turner contributing to the 35-point third quarter.
The Cougars tied the game at 56-56 just prior to the fourth. Jemison found Titus Haley for the 3.
The final period featured five lead changes and two ties.
Weston Ranch went ahead for good going into the final three minutes on Taylor’s putback.
Small converted on a three-point play and Turner drilled a trey, putting the Cougars up, 74-67.
Lathrop made it close towards the end. But Turner’s two free throws secured the win for Weston Ranch.
To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail email@example.com.