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Cougars drop playoff opener in overtime loss
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YUBA CITY – This wasn’t the way it was supposed to end.

The challenges that awaited No. 9 Weston Ranch in its matchup with No. 8 seed River City proved too much to overcome, as the Cougars dropped a 65-62 heartbreaker in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III girls basketball playoffs Tuesday.

Weston Ranch simply ran out of time, getting outscored by three points in both the fourth and overtime periods. The Cougars were within reach through the entire contest, but a late free-throw misses in overtime would leave Weston Ranch with too little, too late.

“They had the home-court cooking,” Cougars head coach Chris Bauer said. “They got a few calls that went their way, a few bounces on the rim that if they weren’t home probably wouldn’t have bounced their way. They had their fans there and it was pretty raucous, but for the most part the kids handled it well.

“We just couldn’t finish it out.”

The two clubs were tied at halftime 21-21 and the Cougars came out and closed the period with a three point lead. Weston Ranch (17-9) wouldn’t be able to protect it though. A.J. Brown led all scorers with 18 points, while teammates Emoni Wilson and Elisabeth Alexander both finished in double-figures with 13. Wilson closed out a decorated high school career, finishing her four year varsity run with the Cougars with three SJS playoff berths.

Her final would be the most difficult, falling in the overtime period.

“We executed everything the way we wanted to out there,” Bauer said. “The problem was our basketball IQ fell apart. We just didn’t follow through and finish out on the things we needed to execute.

“Going into the overtime, I thought we would have a good run at it.”