STOCKTON — In a battle of attrition, Weston Ranch overcame an early 15-point deficit and surged past visiting East Union 68-52 thanks a 29-7 outburst in the fourth quarter.
Another poor start put the Cougars (9-2 Valley Oak League, 17-7 overall) in danger of suffering a second straight upset defeat, this time against a struggling East Union (0-11, 4-20) squad that has dropped 13 in a row.
Weston Ranch, coming off a 78-63 loss to Manteca, was without starting forward Antwann Taylor (flu) and suited up just eight players. The Lancers were also shorthanded, as they were minus starting forward Blake Greenlee (bronchitis) and had just seven available players. Things were made worse for EU when Jay Gakhal fouled out midway through the fourth quarter.
East Union led 45-39 after three.
“I’m proud of the way we played for three quarters, we were just gassed at the end,” East Union coach Ryan Tarr said. “In the first half we were able to score off their press (defense), but it takes a lot of energy to do that and then get back on defense. They were able to take advantage and wore us down.”
Devin Small led Weston Ranch’s late charge scoring 11 of his game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter. Donjae Lindsey and Makhi Turner each had 14 points, and Charles Jemison added 11. The Cougars were already minus two of their tallest players in 6-foot-2 point guard Gavin Wilburn (ineligible) and 6-2 forward Raul Melgarejo (injury) who are out for the season, so the 6-3 Taylor’s absence was felt early on.
“We’re as small as a team can get right now — we had five guys under 6 feet out there,” Weston Ranch coach Chris Teevan said. “Give East Union credit, they played well and hit a lot of shots early.”
Drew Sena paced East Union with 19 points. Christian Cuevas and JoJo Espinosa chipped in 13 and 11, respectively.
Lathrop 63, Oakdale 52
OAKDALE — Dafford McKenzie produced 19 points, eight rebounds, six steals and four blocks to help the Spartans (5-6 VOL, 8-15 overall) stay in the hunt for a postseason berth.
Amiel Adams added 14 points, while Isaiah Victor pitched in 11 to go with eight boards, four assists, three steals and two blocks. Drew Legan fired a game-high 24 points for Oakdale (2-9, 8-16), while John Forman buried six 3s for his 18 points.
Ripon 71, Escalon 35
ESCALON — Upset-minded Escalon (0-9, 1-22) built a 20-10 second-quarter lead before the Trans-Valley League-leading Indians (8-0, 17-6) took full control.
They ended the contest on a 21-3 run and held the Cougars to single-digit scoring in each of the final three quarters.
All five of Ripon’s starters finished in double figures and totaled nine made 3-pointers. Sophomore Troy Brogan led the way with 16 points, while Adam Wood hit four 3s and finished with 14 points. Vincent Olmo, Nico Ilardi and Kyle Sisk contributed 12, 11 and 10 points, respectively.