The Sierra High girls basketball team turned to its defense to snap a five-game losing streak.
The Timberwolves put the clamps on Lathrop early, carving out a 20-point lead by the midway point en route to a 46-28 victory.
The win was a longtime coming, too.
Sierra hadn’t won since its Valley Oak League opener on Jan. 7, a 47-37 decision over Oakdale. Since then, the losses, save for a 37-point loss to league-leading Kimball, have been a mix of missed chances and bad breaks.
On Tuesday, it all came together for the Timberwolves, who featured a balanced scoring.
Kayla Wilson scored a team-high 11 points. Devi Coglio pumped in 10, while Keanna Barber and Alison Edwards had nine and eight points, respectively.
Edwards knocked down two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
On this night, though, the offense took a backseat to the Timberwolves’ stingy team defense.
“We did a great job defensively in the first half,” Sierra coach Martha Spivey said. “… Everyone did they job they needed to do when they went in.”
Lathrop (1-6, 6-14) was paced by Lauren Collins, who had a game-high 15 points. The Spartans have lost five straight.
Weston Ranch 45
In Tracy, Kimball delivered a first-round knockout in this battle of the VOL’s top teams.
Weston Ranch entered the game tied atop the standings with the undefeated Jaguars (7-0, 20-0), but stumbled in its upset big.
The Cougars committed 21 turnovers and shot 4 of 23 through the first two quarters and trailed 34-16 at the intermission.
“Our nerves got to us and we got caught up in the moment,” Weston Ranch coach Chris Bauer said. “We started watching the scoreboard and it snowballed on us.
“We didn’t play well. We didn’t execute what we could. That’s on us, but it’s not the last time we’ll see them. We’ll prep and get ready for the second time.”
Patricia King paced the Cougars (6-1, 15-3) with 15 points. Elisabeth Alexander had 12.
East Union 62,
Central Catholic 50
In Modesto, the Olivia Vezaldenos of old resurfaced, carrying the Lancers to a runaway road victory.
“It was a good win,” East Union coach Jim Agostini said. “We were able to play 13 players tonight.”
Still, all eyes were on Vezaldenos.
The reigning All-Area MVP has struggled with her shooting stroke since the start of VOL play, but enjoyed a breakout performance on Tuesday.
The junior tallied a game-high 26 points to go along with nine rebound, seven assists and three steals.
East Union (4-3, 13-6) has won two straight games.
“Olivia has been playing well for us. The scoring might be down in recent league games, but her play isn’t. She’s guarding the best player on the other team. She’s our ball handler, and she’s doing the things for us to be successful,” Agostini said. “As her coach, I just want to make sure she’s not getting frustrated … because she is doing the things we need to help us win games.”
Anna Wood continued her strong play with 14 points and 13 rebounds. The senior forward averaged 13 points and 17 rebounds in two league games last week.
Ruby Dauby had nine points, despite sitting with foul trouble.
Manteca 53, Oakdale 32
In Oakdale, Loretta Kakala collected another monster double-double with 19 points and 16 rebounds as the Buffaloes (5-2, 13-7) won for the third time in a row.
Leah Manuleleua finished with 10 points and Rubel Dehal chipped in nine for Manteca, which hosts Central Catholic on Thursday.
East Union 53,
Central Catholic 43
In Modesto, the Lancers struggled early but found their groove in the fourth quarter, erupting for 21 points to secure their fifth VOL win.
DeJohna Pryor led East Union with 13 points. Haley Gosney had 11, while Mariah James and Faith Stofferhan chipped in seven points apiece for the Lancers, who trailed 8-6 after one period.
East Union (5-2, 12-5) takes on league-leader Oakdale on Thursday.
Lathrop 44, Sierra 40
Lindsey Walljasper had 15 points and Melanie Fox finished with 10 in the loss for Sierra.
Manteca 48, Oakdale 18
In Oakdale, Julianna Eavenson had 14 points and Sarah Inderbitzin netted eight in a rout for the Buffaloes.