CIF NorCal Regionals
(8) San Marin at (1) Sacred Heart Cathedral
(13) Shasta at (5) Sir Francis Drake
(6) Weston Ranch at (3) Enterprise
(10) Campolindo at (2) El Cerrito
Weston Ranch’s boys basketball team headed for Redding after school Friday, leaving the south Stockton campus at approximately 1:45 p.m.
By 5 o’clock, the Cougars were more than 200 miles away from home practicing at Enterprise High’s Manatowa Gymnasium. That is where No. 6 Weston Ranch (22-9) goes toe to toe with the No. 3 Hornets (24-3) tonight in the quarterfinal round of the CIF Northern California Regional Championships.
The early arrival wasn’t so much about allowing the players to get familiar with the surroundings, though they did visit a nearby mall after practice. It was otherwise all business.
Tonight’s contest tips off at 7:30 following the Enterprise-Modesto Christian girls NorCal game.
“We got right off the bus and practiced. We can’t let up at this point in the season,” said Chris Teevan, Weston Ranch’s first-year head coach who led the program to its first-ever NorCal win on Wednesday, an 87-53 stomping of No. 11 Mission in San Francisco.
“Our guys have played in some hostile environments, so they’re pretty used to it. Yeah, it’s a different environment, but there are two rims in the gym and we’re tied to start the game.”
While this is uncharted territory for the Cougars in more ways than one, it’s nothing new to tradition-rich Enterprise, which has captured six Northern Section championships in the last seven years and is currently on a 15-game winning streak. It’s a program that historically hasn’t shied away from top competition despite the distance between it and basketball hotbeds in Oregon, the Bay Area and Sacramento region.
The Hornets’ three losses were to notable squads such as NorCal Division III 2 seed El Cerrito (56-49) and Oregon’s Lake Oswego (71-60), ranked third in the nation on MaxPreps’ Xcellent 25. El Cerrito has also beaten Weston Ranch, 69-66 in the semifinal round of the McDonald’s Classic in Stockton. El Cerrito could be the next opponent of the Weston Ranch-Enterprise winner but must first avenge a nonleague loss to No. 10 Campolindo tonight.
Enterprise is led by 6-foot guards Kaelan Crisosto (16.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.8 steals) and Jordan Spaschack (12.3 points, 6.0 assists). Andrew Fitzhugh (11.9 points) and 6-foot-6, 220-pound center Brandon Evers (8.8 points, 5.1 rebounds) are other key contributors.
Weston Ranch expects an uptempo game, which would be to its liking.
“We watched their section championship game (a 61-42 win over Shasta), and judging by what we saw they like to extend (their defense) a lot and pressure teams with traps,” Teevan said. “That could help us out a lot. We have guys who are great in the open court. We’re pretty confident, but they’re 24-3 for a reason.”
Dylan Alexander is averaging 21 points in four playoff contests for the Ranch. Point guard Eric Duncan and 6-8 Daiveon Leverret make up the rest of the team’s talented triumvirate, but Teevan said the emergence of the supporting cast led by wing Justin Lassiter has made the Cougars more dangerous thanthey have been all season.
“I always feel like we have the best three players on the court at all times, but those guys play with chips on their shoulders not having any Division-I scholarships at this point,” Teevan said. “All the other seniors do too, because they’ve had to hear all year that we’re just a three-man team. All of them have that chip on their shoulders in different ways, but we’ve come together a lot this season. We’re just trying to make Weston Ranch the school and the community proud.”