Weston Ranch’s boys basketball team doesn’t mind road trips.
The No. 6 Cougars came, saw and conquered at Kezar Pavilion Wednesday night, as they slammed 11th-seeded Mission of San Francisco 87-53 to earn the school’s first CIF Northern California Division III Regional Championships victory.
Next stop: Redding, where third-seeded Enterprise awaits.
“We’ve been a pretty good road team all year,” Weston Ranch coach Chris Teevan said.
Weston Ranch (22-7) is a confident bunch these days, with all 11 of their players finding ways to contribute. All 11 scored Wednesday led by Dylan Alexander’s 22 points and Daiveon Leverett’s 20. Eric Duncan and Justin Lassiter added 12 and 10, respectively.
The Cougars led 43-31 at halftime but used a 32-point outburst in the third quarter to take full command. Teevan commended Lassiter for his work on offense during the pivotal period, and Sean Visperas for his role on defense.
Teevan said this isn’t the team plagued by selfish play from earlier in the season, which has led to it playing its best ball. That was on display in the first quarter when starting guard Albert Lyon was called for his second foul.
“The first guy off the bench was Jalen Ragsdale, a freshman,” Teevan said. “He came in with the game tied late in the first quarter. We have that confidence in him, and he didn’t play scared. Nobody complained when we went to him. We checked the attitudes at the door a long time ago.”
Enterprise (24-3), awarded a first-round bye, should provide more of a challenge on Saturday. The Hornets are coming off their sixth Northern Section title run in seven years.
“No one we’re playing in this tournament is going to be better than Modesto Christian,” Teevan said, referencing the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III champion that eliminated his Cougars in a competitive 63-58 semifinal. Modesto Christian was selected to play in the inaugural Open Division.
“We feel that we can win any game, but we can lose any game, too,” Teevan added.
Division V boys
Liberty Christian 67, Ripon Christian 55
In Redding, Joseph Lynch scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half for No. 8 Liberty Christian (24-7), which converted 10 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter to hold off the ninth-seeded Knights (23-6).
It was an uphill struggle all night for Ripon Christian, which managed to stay within range until late despite a considerable disparity in fouls called against it. The Knights were also whistled for two technicals in the second half.
Jon Vander Molen paced RC with 15 points, Dan Vos finished with 14 and Clayton Blankers had 12. Tyler Green added 18 points for the Patriots.
“I’m really proud of the kids for battling back,” said RC coach Ron Vander Molen, whose squad trailed 47-38 going into the fourth. “I think we had the better team, we just didn’t have it tonight. That’s what was frustrating.”
Division V girls
San Domenico 44, Ripon Christian 39
Eleventh-seeded Ripon Christian (20-8) nearly pulled out the upset in San Anselmo but was off the mark on the possible game-tying 3-pointer with 12 seconds remaining.
San Domenico (25-7), seeded sixth, held eight-point leads after the second and third quarters. Jenny Wickham led RC’s comeback charge by pumping in all 11 of her points in the second half. Sophomore Carly Tillema also came up huge, contributing 10 points and 12 rebounds.
San Domenico standout Sasha Nagler led all players with 29 points.
“She took us inside and inside and did a nice job for them,” RC coach Ed Mulder said. “We just played very sluggish the whole game.”