The Weston Ranch Cougars stumbled early on against visiting Bishop O’Dowd in Saturday’s NorCal opening round.
As it turned out, the No. 8 seed Dragons went on to topple the top Division III team with the 72-64 win.
“We were gut-punched from the start when they went on that 8-0 run,” said Weston Ranch coach Chris Teevan, who noted that eight points also turned out to be the margin of victory for Bishop O’Dowd.
The Dragons (16-14) were paced by Naseem Gaston’s 31 points and BJ Shaw’s 16.
“We weren’t ready for their physicality,” Teevan said.
Weston Ranch (27-5) didn’t really get untracked until second half.
Jaelen Ragsdale, for one, credited the Dragons for their defense.
“I couldn’t get a lot of touches on the ball in the first half,” he said.
Ragsdale and his teammates adjustmented in the second half. Held to a single bucket, he netted 13 of his 15 including a buzzer-beating 3 to end the third in those final two quarters.
D’Angelo Finley, who had a team-high 26, also delivered on a couple of drives to help Weston Ranch make it a game early in the fourth.
With about five minutes left, Ragsdale’s drive to the hoop pulled the Cougars to within a point, 53-52.
But then a big basket by Shaw coupled with Gaston and Elijah Hardy delivering down the stretch iced the game for Bishop O’Dowd.
“It’s tough to lose this way,” said Ragsdale. “I’m still speechless.”