STOCKTON — Tenacious defense and a tough transition game was the difference for Weston Ranch on Friday in a 53-44 win over visiting Beyer of Modesto in non-league girls basketball action.
“It was a game of runs,” Cougars coach Chris Bauer said. “And we talked at halftime about how we had just hit a dry spell and then we were able to make a run in the middle of the third quarter. They made a little run at the beginning of the fourth and we were able to get a few run-outs at the end to seal it for us.
“We changed at halftime into a zone so my two little quicks — Shania Watts and Kyshanti King — were able to spark our transition for us. And you can’t complain because we didn’t lose our cool when we didn’t get foul calls in the first half — the kids were on the floor for loose balls and they played hard.”
Weston Ranch (6-4) led most of the first half before the Knights (4-9) closed the second period on a 6-2 run to knot the score at 22. After trading possessions to start the third quarter the Cougars ended the third period on a 17-3 run to lead 43-28 and were never again threatened.
King (four assists, four steals) scored seven of her team-high 12 points in the third period.
“We stepped it up in the second half,” King said. “We got some more runs and fast breaks.
“We just picked it up and went hard.”
King and Watts each had a steal that they took coast-to-coast for a layup during that big third-quarter run. Watts had her two points in the third period but came up big in a supporting role with three assists, four of her five rebounds and three of her five rebounds in the quarter.
“We had to pressure the ball and work hard to keep our lead once we got it,” Watts said. “It was energy defense for us.”
Weston Ranch continued its torrid pace to start the final quarter, scoring the period’s first six points to bump the lead to 49-28. Ashanti Boatman capped the big run with a steal she took the length of the court for a layup.
Bauer then went to his bench and the Knights were able to close within 49-40 with 1:22 left in the game, but that was as close as they would come.
Jazlyn White (five rebounds, block and steal) and Darnaysha Huff had eight points each for the Cougars. Zahbria Hendrix (seven points) added six rebounds and two blocks and Boatman had four rebounds, three blocks, an assist and a steal.
Downey’s Abby Van Diepen led all scorers with 15 points.