ELK GROVE — The four best teams are left standing in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs.
Count 14th-seeded Weston Ranch as one of them.
Playing their third game in four days, the soaring Cougars dispatched No. 6 Cosumnes Oaks 68-64 to reach the semifinal round and earn a berth to the CIF State Northern California Regional Championships.
“We’re one of the top Division I teams in NorCal and proving it,” Weston Ranch coach Chris Teevan said. “Everyone is finding out. This has been like two seasons for us. We’re a dramatically different team.”
Donjaé Lindsey is back on track after struggling in the out-bracket win over Chavez on Tuesday. He followed up his 21-point outburst at Folsom with Friday’s team-high 23. Gavin Wilburn set the pace at point guard, finishing with 12 points, six rebounds and four assists. Titus Haley also had 12 points, and he hit the last of his four 3s early in the fourth quarter to give Weston Ranch a 60-48 lead.
The Wolfpack (19-11) didn’t go away quietly, answering with an 11-2 run. The Cougars got key buckets from Jordahn Johnson and Lindsey down stretch to escape with the victory. Johnson ended with 10 points, nine rebounds and four blocks despite early foul trouble.
They’ve now won 14 of their last 15 games after drudging through a brutal non-league schedule that left them at 4-8 by New Year’s Day.
On Jan. 2, Weston Ranch (20-11) was trounced by Folsom 77-54, a result it avenged with Wednesday’s 60-53 upset of the third-seeded Bulldogs.
Weston Ranch has another get-back game next Tuesday at Sacramento powerhouse Capital Christian (23-7), the No. 2 seed that rolled to a 61-43 in their previous meeting during the Gridley Invitational.
“They kicked our butt like Folsom did,” Teevan said. “We were actually winning at half, and then we could barely score in the third quarter and it got away from us.”
Top-seeded Sheldon (25-5) and No. 4 Rocklin (25-5) are in the other semifinal. The winners face off next Friday, Feb. 28 at Golden 1 Center. At this point, Weston Ranch is enjoying its time as road warriors.
“We’re going back to Sac, and if we win again we’ll just go back to Sac again,” Teevan said.
Wood 63, Manteca 43
VACAVILLE — The No. 11 Buffaloes (15-15) didn’t get another chance to work their late-game magic on Friday.
That’s because third-seeded Wood (23-6) dominated from the opening tip, racing out to a 14-4 first-quarter lead and sitting comfortably ahead 31-11 by halftime.
Landon Seaman, a sturdy 6-foot-6 center, fired a game-high 23 points for the Wildcats. Nick Bell scored 10 for Manteca.
“Digging ourselves that big of a hole is pretty difficult, especially when you play a team that runs down the clock and gets the shot they want every time down,” Buffs coach Jason Hitt said. “We had bad turnovers to start the game and it took awhile to settle down, while they ran their offense well.
“Coming off that high off the Florin win, it was kind of difficult to duplicate that.”
Manteca stunned No. 6 Florin 63-62 Wednesday on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Spencer Briscoe. Wood next takes on Valley Oak League champion Central Catholic on Tuesday.