By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Godfrey pours in 37 in loss
Weston Ranchs speed, balance beat Buffs
Daiveon Leverett throws down a one-handed dunk for Weston Ranch Friday against visiting Manteca High. For additional photos, visit . - photo by Photo by CHRIS LEONARD
WESTON RANCH — The Manteca High boys varsity basketball team favors slowing down the game.

Weston Ranch, by contrast, would rather play uptempo.

On Friday, the Cougars turned to their pressure defense, relying on their quickness to defeat the defending Valley Oak League champions, 66-59.

Weston Ranch (2-0, 11-2) was led by senior guard Melvin Allen, who had 17 points and three steals.

“He really stepped up tonight,” said Cougars coach Ryan Bono.”He was our catalyst and leader.”

Manteca (1-1, 4-9) had an obvious weapon of its own in EJ Godfrey.

“It’s no secret that everyone knows we’re getting the ball in the hands of EJ,” Buffaloes coach Dave Asuncion.

Godfrey, who was a one-man wrecking crew on offense, pounded the ball inside to get most of his game-high 37 points. Late in the game, he buried a 3-point basket.

Manteca turned to its halfcourt attack early on, with Taylor Hasal, CJ Rivas, and Rigo Gutierrez feeding the ball inside to Godfrey, who, at one point, netted 10 straight shots to keep his team even with the Cougars.

Weston Ranch relied on its dribble-penetrating offense, dishing the ball out or driving to the hoop.

“If there’s a lane, our guys have the green light to attack the basket,” Bono said.

The Cougars changed the tempo of the game, switching to the press that resulted in six turnovers, including four steals. Dylan Alexander and Allen both had thefts in the early 14-3 run. But it was 6-foot-7 sophomore Daiveon Leverett who got things going with a one-handed slam dunk.

Down 29-19, Manteca managed a pair of 3’s by Hasal and Godfrey. Ryan Culpepper helped out by converting on a three-point play.

Ahead 29-24, Alexander netted half of his 12 points shortly before the intermission, providing Weston Ranch with a 35-29 lead.

In the second half, Manteca adjusted to the Cougar press to climb back in the game. The Buffaloes, after tying the game on three occasions, momentarily went ahead by a point late thanks to a basket by Godfrey in the third period.

Andre Beard, who chipped in with 17 points, and Allen took over, driving to the basket while getting the foul. Both completed consecutive three-point opportunities to give Weston Ranch a 50-43 advantage.

Leverett’s block shot led to a quick basket by Zerrion Payton, who finished with 12.

Weston Ranch closed out the scoring with encore jam by Leverett.

In addition, the Cougars outrebounded Manteca, 31-23. Alexander led the way with 13 boards while Beard hauled in seven.

The Buffaloes will next play Lathrop.

Weston Ranch will square off against Sonora early next week.