STOCKTON — Sierra High kept its playoff hopes alive Friday with a 57-56 overtime win at Weston Ranch.
Jaime Ochoa scored five of his game-high 33 points in the extra session of this Valley Oak League affair. Prior to that, he tied the game at 51-51 with 44 seconds left in regulation.
“Our season was on the line,” said Ochoa, who was playing in his third straight overtime game. “Our team has been coming together.”
The Timberwolves (7-6 VOL, 12-14 overall) will now need a victory at Oakdale on Wednesday.
“It’s now one game. No excuses,” said coach Scott Thomason, whose team has gone 3-1 in recent weeks.
Weston Ranch (10-3, 18-8) jumped out to a 14-5 start, but struggled offensively down the stretch in regulation and was 0 for 3 from the field to start overtime.
“The shots we took towards the end of regulation and in the overtime summarized our struggles,” said Cougars coach Chris Teevan.
His team will travel to Modesto next week to take on first-place Central Catholic. Weston Ranch already locked up second place and a playoff spot.
“We’re not playing our inside-out game,” Teevan said, indicating that his Cougars will need to do just that in moving forward.
Weston Ranch and Sierra were locked up in a see-saw battle that featured six ties and 13 lead changes.
The Cougars not only started out hot from the outside — Makhi Turner hit a pair of 3s and a layup while Titus Haley scored two off a steal — but also frustrated the Timberwolves with their defense.
Weston Ranch went up 22-12 midway through the second thanks to a pair of buckets by Turner, who had 17 points, nine rebounds and a block.
Ochoa, who delivered a no-look pass to a cutting Eduardo Jasso to the end the first, drilled a 3, scored on an up-and-under layup, and made a back-door cut for two while tying the game at 24-24 shortly before intermission.
The Cougars went back on top on Charles Jemison’s trey, 27-24.
In the third, Sierra kept pace with Weston Ranch, which went up 41-36 on Turner’s put-back basket. But the crafty Ochoa managed to draw a foul while hoisting up a shot while about 10 feet away from half court.
He connected on all three foul shots, closing the gap again, 41-39.
Late in the fourth, Weston Ranch went up by five thanks baskets by Turner and Donjae’ Lindsey, who finished with eight points and eight rebounds.
Jaedon Malone had a block for Sierra to help force the game into overtime.
John Elijah, who had 10 points, six rebounds, a block and a steal, opened the extra period by hitting one of his two free throws to put the Timberwolves back on top.
The Cougars kept it close on Turner’s lean-in trey from the top of the key with 12.6 seconds left. They had one more chance in the waning seconds but came up empty.