The Weston Ranch girls basketball roster has dwindled down to eight for the remainder of the season, but one key addition has the Cougars on pace for their first-ever VOL championship in their 10th season.
Junior guard Rauline Martinez, a transfer from small-school power Brookside Christian, is averaging 15.5 points, 3.8 assists and 3.0 steals through six league games. She was forced to sit out the entire pre-league schedule because of CIF transfer rules. It hasn’t taken long for her to knock off the rust.
“I’ve learned to play with new teammates and the way they’re playing, it’s a little different than at Brookside,” Martinez said. “I just try to distribute and get to know them more than usual.”
Her presence has opened things up for third-year point guard A.J. Brown (11.8 points, 3.1 assists) and wing Elisabeth Alexander (11.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.3 steals).
“Rauline has brought a lot to the team,” Alexander said. “She’s brought a good attitude, skill and great leadership.”
She also brings a championship resume. As a freshman she helped Brookside Christian of Stockton garner a Division V state title.
“She’s played for a state championship and we haven’t gone past the second round of the (SJS) playoffs,” Weston Ranch coach Chris Bauer said. “That’s a big difference maker for us right now.”
The Cougars (6-0, 13-5) are expected to have their toughest competition in league tonight when they host Kimball (5-1, 16-3) to end the first half of conference play.
Division-I boys hoops powerhouse Sheldon of Elk Grove is ineligible for the SJS playoffs after it was found to have committed several CIF bylaw violations.
An investigative report from the Elk Grove Unified School District revealed Monday that players from other schools, including middle-school aged athletes, were persuaded to transfer to Sheldon for basketball.
Players who were not Sheldon students were invited to open gym practices and represented the school in summer tournaments. Parents were also providing meals and gifts for potential future Sheldon student-athletes. In some cases, fraudulent information was provided by incoming transfers.
Seven players total have been declared ineligible, including five on Monday. Among the ineligible is senior Tyras Rattler, who started out at East Union his freshman year before transferring to Modesto Christian.
The program will be on probation for the next three years and will have its schedule limited to 24 games and participation in just one nonleague tournament for the next two. Further violations of CIF bylaws during this period would likely result in stronger penalties.
Six of the last eight VOL boys titles have gone to Sierra or Weston Ranch, and the latest is shared by both.
Here they are again setting the pace at the midway point of league despite both squads losing all of their starters to graduation. Sierra (7-0, 14-5) stands alone at the top, while Weston Ranch (5-2, 9-10) trails by two games with sole possession of second place.
The rivalry resumes Friday night at Weston Ranch. First things first: Weston Ranch hosts Lathrop Wednesday just two weeks after the Cougars upset the Spartans on the road. Sierra, meanwhile, heads to Kimball.