Weston Ranch broke open a tie game Wednesday night with a 13-0 run that started late in the first quarter against host East Union, and the Cougars were not threatened again in a 71-57 Valley Oak League win at Dalben Center.
“We finally started playing with more energy defensively,” Weston Ranch assistant coach Eddie Menzel said. “For us, everything has to come from the defensive end.
“And when you play with that kind of energy defensively then you start getting easier buckets and then the 3s start getting easier to make. Those outside shots become a little easier once you make a few in transition.”
Josh Dilg was a big reason for that good Cougars start, scoring 11 first-quarter points behind a trio of 3-pointers and finishing with 18, all in the first three quarters.
“I just came out aggressive,” Dilg said. “And then everyone started getting on fire.”
Once Dilg got going, so did fellow sophomore Jaelen Ragsdale. After a scoreless first period, Ragsdale exploded for 21 points with three 3-pointers and a perfect 6-for-6 effort from the free-throw line.
“I just wasn’t hitting shots in the beginning,” Ragsdale said. “We all play well as a unit and eventually everyone was hitting shots.”
Weston Ranch (7-5 VOL, 11-13 overall) put in seven 3-pointers in the first half.
“We couldn’t get stops and we couldn’t get rebounds,” Lancers coach Ryan Tarr said. “They started with 3-pointers and that is what gave them separation. We couldn’t get any runs going because we couldn’t get any stops.”
Jacob Danhoff of the East Union (1-11 VOL, 9-14) led all scorers with 27 points and teammate Clay Cuneo added 11.
“He is capable of doing that every night,” Tarr said of Danhoff. “It is just a matter of how hard he wants to exert himself and how hard he wants to go and get it.”
It was a must-win for Weston Ranch, which snapped a three-game skid Wednesday. As a result of Manteca and Lathrop wins on Wednesday, the Cougars remain one game behind the Buffaloes and the Spartans for the final playoff slot from the VOL with two games remaining.
East Union 65,
Weston Ranch 52
The Lancers ran their league record to 9-2 by outscoring the Cougars in all but one quarter.
East Union placed three players in double figures – Eric Flores with 17 points, Daniel Ramos with 14 and Austin Miller with 13. Charles Udeze had 14 points for Weston Ranch and Phillip Strothers eight.
East Union 54,
Weston Ranch 42
Scott Morenzone scored 11 points for the Lancers and P.J. Gill added 10.
The Cougars’ B.J. Bowen led all scorers with 17 points.