VALLEJO — Weston Ranch High is the CIF NorCal Division II champions.
No. 4 Cougars earned it with yet another down-to-the-wire thriller, squeaking past No. 2 St. Patrick-St. Vincent on the road, 62-61.
“We’re celebrating tonight,” said coach Chris Teevan, who will have a few days to prepare against Southern California No. 1-seed St. Francis, a 53-44 winner over No. 6 Roosevelt. They will play Saturday at Golden I Center in Sacramento for the D-II state crown beginning at 4 p.m.
St. Patrick-St. Vincent was the D-IV state champions in 2017.
“They still had a few players from that team,” said Teevan of the Bruins.
The Cougars (24-12) have Gavin Wilburn, who had the ball in his hands with precious seconds ticking away, trailing 61-60.
He dribbled to the key and drew three defenders.
“I knew I would have two (of my teammates) open — I picked the right one,” said Wilburn, who dropped the ball down to Jordahn Johnson underneath for the go-ahead basket with 4.5 seconds left.
The Bruins (25-11), who trailed throughout the game — they were down 44-32 in third before staging their comeback — went on a 12-3 run in the fourth to pull to within a point. They finally claimed the lead for the first time in the game with 15.1 seconds thanks to a pair of free throws by 6-foot-11 senior Dishon Jackson, who finished with 17 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
St. Patrick-St. Vincent came out of the timeout with one more shot.
But that’s when Wilburn stepped up.
“I saw (the Bruin player) driving and came in for some help defense,” he said while getting a hand on that final shot to the end the game.
Mi’son Coilton, who came up with the win-sealing steal against St. Mary’s in the NorCal semifinal on Saturday, had another big game.
“This was Mi’son’s best game,” Teevan said.
Coilton was at a loss for the words during the midcourt celebration, finishing with 21 points, six boards and three steals.
He helped Weston Ranch jump out to a 26-13 lead early in the second quarter by nailing a pair of 3s, with Wilburn, who played most of the game in foul trouble, feeding him for those shots.
Donjaé Lindsey, who, along with Coilton had three steals in the first half, took one coast to coast, giving his team a 30-17 lead.
The Cougar defense got added support from freshman Kodey Weary, who had three steals and block while helping Johnson in guarding the towering Dishon Jackson.
Johnson, for the most part, was able to get past Jackson, scoring on a few reverse layups and quick feeds underneath the basket including the game-winner.
He tallied 18 points, five rebounds, and a pair of steals.
Lindsey netted 10 and Wilburn had seven points along with five rebounds, three blocks, and two steals.
Jaden Alexander led St. Patrick-St. Vincent with 18 points. Jalen Scott and Izz Fifita chipped in with nine and eight respectively.