Sierra proved up to the challenge in its Valley Oak League encounter with visiting Weston Ranch on Friday.
The Timberwolves gave the co-leader all it could handle in the early going before falling, 60-49. Elisabeth Alexander lifted the Cougars (6-0 VOL, 15-3 overall) with 23 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, four blocks. She hit a key 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter and sank two free throws with 8 seconds remaining to make it a double-digit win.
“It was great to see the fire in the girls eyes again,” Sierra coach Martha Spivey said. “They played an all-around great game. We had the best practice that we have had in a long time Thursday and it really translated in tonight’s game.”
Kayla Wilson and Kristen Maestretti pumped in 16 and 14 points for Sierra (1-5, 5-13), respectively. Patricia King aided Weston Ranch’s cause with 12 points, Teresa Haley added 10 and Faizah Bass swiped six steals.
Typically a team that starts fast, the Cougars had what coach Chris Bauer described as a “rough” opening quarter. They were ahead 14-11 heading into the second and stretched the lead to 32-24 at halftime, but Sierra managed to hang around until the final minute.
“They played well, I’ll give it to them,” Bauer said. “They came out inspired. Any time we’d make a mistake in our (defensive) rotation they made us pay. They came ready to play and we were lucky to get out of there with a win with the way we played. They ran with us and were able to keep up.”
Weston Ranch travels to Tracy next Tuesday to take on undefeated Kimball in a showdown of first-place teams. Sierra hosts Lathrop.
Kimball 66, Lathrop 35
The outmatched Spartans (1-5, 6-13) trailed 23-8 after the first quarter, but coach Dwayne Davis was pleased that his team continue to scrap against one of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s premier squads.
Danya Phillips racked up 10 points, seven rebounds and three blocks for Lathrop. Kimball (6-0, 19-0) got 12 points from sophomore Donwanae Anthony in a balanced effort.
“Big, tough, can shoot the lights out,” Davis said of Kimball. What I liked about my girls is they battled. They rebounded with them despite their size (advantage), but they are legit. We’re aspiring to get to where they’re at.”
Kimball 47, Lathrop 23
Shelia Mertilen spearheaded the Spartans with nine points, and Julianne Justo added five.
Weston Ranch 39, Sierra 34
The visiting Cougars (3-2, 8-2) raced away with a 14-7 fourth-quarter run.
Justice Stitt led the charge with 12 points, five rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Inesja Lomax (four steals) and Phyllis Strothers scored eight points apiece. Allyson Chang and Marisa Castaneda each pulled down seven rebounds.
Lathrop 49, Kimball 39
Lathrop overcame an early eight-point deficit to roll to its 15th consecutive win to start the season.
Myani Thornton poured in 15 points, and Ryleen Crull added 14 for the first-place Spartans.