Chris Teevan joked that he might need a search party to find the Weston Ranch boys basketball team’s home jerseys.
It’s only been about 11 months since the team’s last home game.
At long last, the Cougars will play a game on their floor and in front of their fans. Better yet, they’ll make their home debut on Thursday against Manteca with some momentum.
Jazz Swanson led a balanced attack with 26 points and Weston Ranch closed with a flurry in an 82-72 victory at Central Catholic, the Valley Oak League’s newest competitor.
Four players scored in double figures for the run-and-shoot Cougars (8-5, 1-0). Swanson buried six 3-pointers, including the dagger to stymie the Raiders’ last-ditch run.
Josh Dilg finished with 13 points, despite sitting out the first quarter. Jaelen Ragsdale had 11 points, four rebounds, four steals and three assists, while sophomore Tre Simmons finished with 10.
Fred Lavender had eight points. He also sat out the first quarter for an undisclosed reason.
Teevan was happy to see his team pick up its two stars – Ragsdale and Lavender, who struggled mightily from the floor against a much-taller Central Catholic (8-4, 0-1) lineup.
“This was the game of the night and this is a big week for us. To start off with the win on the road is encouraging, especially when your two best players don’t shoot as well as they expected,” Teevan added. “Fred and Jaelen combined for 19 points and Jaelen averages that on his own.
“Against elite teams, they’re our playmakers, but that’s really not us. We’re an equal opportunity team. To both Jaelen and Fred’s credit, they were balling tonight, they’re shots weren’t falling, but they continued to play defense.”
Weston Ranch’s speed and press neutralized Central Catholic’s size, shooting stroke and home-gym advantage. The Cougars led by as many as 16 points in the second half, but saw their lead cut to 72-65 with just a few minutes remaining.
Dilg and Swanson cooled the Raiders with back-to-back 3-pointers.
Swanson’s bucket was created off a turnover.
“We needed to keep the pace up, like always,” Teevan said. “Some of the teams we played in the preseason, we haven’t been able to press because they’re just too talented. Now that we’re in league, we can get back to our roots. Tonight, I think we were able to come on in waves.”
Weston Ranch will host Manteca on Thursday.
The Cougars last home game was Feb. 12, 2014, a 71-57 victory over East Union.
“Hopefully, we can find our white jerseys,” Teevan said.