The hardwood version of the Battle of I-5 again did not disappoint wednesday.
Host Weston Ranch put the finishing touches of its season sweep of rival Lathrop with yet another thrilling victory, this time coming back from a 14-point deficit to prevail, 55-51.
The Cougars (6-2 Valley Oak League, 10-10 overall) trailed 42-28 with 3 minutes to go in the third quarter before an unlikely hero emerged. Reserve Alex Delinila scored all 10 of his points in the second half for Weston Ranch, including a key three-point play in the fourth quarter.
Lathrop (4-4, 11-9) still led 51-47 late in the contest before Jazz Swanson put the Cougars up for good with a 3-pointer and a jumper. Jaelen Ragsdale, who hit a last-second runner to win it for the Ranch in the first meeting, nailed two straight free throws to extend the lead, and Delinila punctuated with two more from the stripe.
“These guys are winning games on mental toughness,” Weston Ranch coach Chris Teevan said. “To be down 14 to a team that’s bigger, stronger and flat-out more talented than you and still find a way to win is what’s most impressive.”
Ragsdale led the way with 19 points. Swanson finished with 10, and Jordan Tauga keyed Weston Ranch’s third-quarter with seven points.
Nicholas Obazuaye paced the Spartans with 12 points but was held to just two in the second half. Nilo Yuson and Isaiah Ellis had 11 and 10, respectively.
Weston Ranch can now set its sights on first-place Sierra on Friday for what has developed into the area’s best basketball rivalry. The Cougars are alone in second in the VOL but trail the fellow defending co-champion by two games.
“Sierra is tough,” Teevan said. “We have a hard enough time trying to handle one big, and they have more than one. But I’m not going to put anything past our guys anymore.”
Sierra 61, Kimball 52
In Tracy, it was business as usual for the Timberwolves (8-0, 15-5), who rode the hot hand of Devin Nunez. The sharpshooting guard knocked down six treys en route to scoring 20 points. Hunter Johnson added 12 points, and Bryson Sanders turned in 10.
Bryer Peet and J.D. Schmidt each poured in 11 for Kimball (4-4, 14-7), which managed to stay within striking distance despite going down by as much as 15 in the first half and 16 in the second.
“We didn’t sustain our effort today and I’m disappointed with some of our defensive lapses,” Sierra coach Scott Thomason said. “But overall it’s a good win on the road against a good team so we’ll take it. We know we have to play better Friday.”
Manteca 60, Sonora 49
The Buffaloes (4-4, 12-9) were topped by Mikey Hatfield’s 17 points and five rebounds as they snapped a three-game losing streak. Austin Haro finished with 13 points and five rebounds, and Miguel Lopez tallied eight points.
Lopez also hit a clutch fourth-quarter jumper, as the Wildcats made a push and cut their deficit down to seven but would get no closer. Manteca, which will visit crosstown rival East Union Friday, trailed by four after the first quarter but went on a 25-14 run before the break and never looked back.
East Union 42
The Lancers (1-7, 8-11) got 20 points scored of them by Shane Baxter, who helped his Mustangs (3-5, 4-14) race out to a 10-point halftime lead. Jake Danhoff led East Union with 16 points. Cody Keener and Clay Cuneo both finished with seven apiece as the Lancers set to host the Buffaloes on Friday.
East Union 62,
The Squires (6-2) are still in pace with crosstown rivals Sierra and Manteca as the three share the VOL lead for another day. East Union hosts Manteca on Friday.
Gyse Hulsebosch fired 17 points for EU on Wednesday, and Austin Miller added 14.
Weston Ranch 36
Diego Chavez pumped in a game-high 21 points to help the Spartans roll to victory. Luis Torres and Mike Osorno chipped in nine and seven, respectively.
Manteca 65, Sonora 56
Kevonte Boone led a balanced effort for the Buffaloes (6-2, 17-4) with 12 points, while Angel Perez contributed 10 and Ramon Gallardo nine.
Manteca 60, Sonora 35
Ascari Johnson splashed down four 3-pointers and turned in 18 points in the Manteca romp. Ryan Brock added 10 points for the Buffaloes (6-2, 9-12).
Weston Ranch 57,
Ariz Bringas spearheaded Lathrop with 11 points and two steals, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the hot shooting of Weston Ranch.
Kimball 50, Sierra 46
Sierra (5-3, 10-4) lost a heartbreaker in overtime. Jamille Grady and Parmvir Singh scored 11 points apiece.