STOCKTON — Sierra High’s Joshua Patton registered 18 points, 13 rebounds and 10 blocks and threw down a one-handed dunk in transition for the final points of the third quarter of Friday’s 71-46 victory at Weston Ranch.
But there is only one stat that matters to the Timberwolves’ stoic 6-foot-7 center.
“The win,” he deadpanned, shrugging off the rare triple-double effort.
It was arguably Patton’s most dominant performance of the season and possibly Sierra’s most impressive triumph so far. The Valley Oak League champions were coming off their first loss — a 47-45 setback at the buzzer against Manteca — in two months, so getting back on track in the final two games of the regular season was imperative.
The Timberwolves (12-1 VOL, 20-5 overall) tallied their 20th win Friday and have done so four straight years and seven times in the last eight.
“I’m proud of how they bounced back and played Sierra basketball,” Sierra coach Scott Thomason said. “We’re trying to get into playoff mode like everyone is at this point, and we have to play with a sense of urgency. Our kids are starting to understand that.”
Weston Ranch (7-6 VOL, 12-14 overall) was much more competitive in their first showdown, losing 61-59 at Sierra. The Timberwolves left little doubt in the rematch, showing that urgency from the opening tip and rallying to a 15-2 lead with still 4:40 to go in the first quarter.
“Sierra played excellent,” Weston Ranch coach Chris Teevan said. “We didn’t play that bad. We played hard but the start killed us. After that it was pretty even until the last few minutes.”
Sierra did well to maintain the double-digit cushion throughout despite several mini-bursts from the Cougars and foul trouble. Starting guard Devin Nunez picked up his third foul with 6:37 to go, and Bryson Sanders also had three by halftime.
Reserve Arnel Surnip helped pick up the slack by scoring five points in the second period, and Jakob Gallagher scored seven of his nine in the third quarter. Hunter Johnson finished with 12 points and nine rebounds, while Sanders added 12 points of his own. Nine different Timberwolves contributed with points.
Sierra’s overall advantage in size and reach was put to better use in the second meeting.
“There was a mismatch for most of us,” Patton said. “We’re a pretty big team. Our guards got the ball into us down low and we finished.”
Sophomores Josh Dilg and Jaelen Ragsdale spearheaded Weston Ranch with 10 points apiece. Erron Duncan chipped in nine points, all from the free-throw line. The Cougars converted 19 of 23 from the stripe.
The good news for Weston Ranch is that it is still within reach of a postseason berth with one game remaining. That’s because Lathrop, which is also vying for the last of three Sac-Joaquin Section spots, lost at Kimball Friday night. Weston Ranch remains a game back of the Spartans but owns the head-to-head tiebreaker having swept them this year.
Lathrop hosts Sierra in the VOL finale next Tuesday, while Weston Ranch entertains Kimball.
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The visiting Timberwolves (10-3, 15-4) closed with a 19-6 fourth quarter to race away with the victory.
Jamille Grady splashed down four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points. Noah Ault hit two treys of his own and ended up with 10 points. Parmvir Singh chipped in with eight.