STOCKTON — Weston Ranch High opened Wednesday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs with a resounding 66-51 home win over Marysville.
“We talked about picking up the trash,” said Cougars coach Chris Teevan, referencing his team’s sloppy play of late.
But the postseason provided a clean slate of sort.
No. 5-seeded Weston Ranch (19-9) came out with energy in bolting out to an 11-2 start. Devin Small kicked off the action by burying a 3 and Donjae’ Lindsey came up with a steal, feeding Makhi Turner, who drove strong to the basket.
No. 12 Marysville (11-14) of the Golden Empire League had no answer for the Cougars’ superior speed and quickness, especially in the open court.
Weston Ranch consistently pressured the Indians, who made it an adventure just trying to get midcourt.
Teevan utilized his recent call-ups from the lower levels to keeping up that fast tempo.
“The tone was set but we also had to maintain a balance,” he added.
Antwann Taylor provided some of that. A starter during the regular season, he came off the bench to provide his team with a spark.
The 6-foot-3 senior gave the Cougars an inside presence along with a strong all-around game, finishing with 13 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
“We like that fast-paced game,” Taylor said. “It’s like a track meet.
“It suits us.”
Weston Ranch closed out the opening quarter with a 27-9 advantage and perhaps had a tinge of concern early in the second when Marysville scored seven unanswered points to close to within 11.
Charles Jemison responded by banking in a short jumper and Turner, Taylor and Micah Vasser followed suit, giving their team a 39-24 half-time lead.
The Cougars played a strong half-court game early in the third while putting in that strong extra effort.
Turner drew a blocking foul, following that up with a clean rejection on the defensive end.
Taylor and Lindsey went sprawling to the floor while chasing down the loose balls.
Turner, who had a game-high 19 points, twice thrilled the home crowd with a pair of emphatic dunks of the one-hand variety in the fourth.
Small finished with 12 points and four steals. Lindsey chipped in with 10 points and four steals. Titus Haley had six while helping initiate the attack on the press.
The Indians got 11 points from both Kevin Scheive and Quentyn Hall. Jagir Johal had eight.
Weston Ranch will travel to Sacramento Friday to face No. 4 West Campus, which opened with a 64-53 win over No. 13 Hughson.
To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail email@example.com.