STOCKTON — Despite trailing in the third quarter and a 27-point effort from the Weston Ranch’s Jaelen Ragsdale, visiting Sonora scored 30 points in the fourth to come back and win the Valley Oak League opener 68-62 on Tuesday night.
“This was a tough way for us to start league,” Weston Ranch coach Chris Teevan said. “When you are plus-six late in the third quarter and give up 30 in the fourth, that’s not good.”
The Cougars (0-1 VOL, 4-10 overall) dominated the third period, forcing seven turnovers and battling Sonora’s size advantage to hold the Wildcats (1-0, 7-5) to just one rebound in the quarter.
Erron Duncan was a big part of the Weston Ranch defensive blitz in the third period, nabbing three of his team-high five steals.
“In the first half our defense was all right,” Duncan said. “But I think we executed better on defense in the third quarter with our presses and forcing turnovers.”
Ragsdale was 8 for 8 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter and finished with five rebounds, an assist and a steal to go with his high-point honors.
“We are young but we try out best to play hard to win games,” Ragsdale said. “We hit a couple of open shots in the third quarter that we had been missing.”
Despite holding Sonora to one rebound in the third quarter, Weston Ranch succumbed to the Wildcats sized advantage, losing the battle of the boards 26-18.
“No team will win basketball games if they can’t keep guys in front of them and can’t rebound,” Teevan said. “Every team will have us out-sized this year but we just have to battle.”
In addition to being outsized this year, the Cougars figure to be younger than their opponents, starting four sophomores and a junior Tuesday night as opposed to Sonora which started three seniors.
“I know they have a lot of young players up but those kids for Weston Ranch played so stinking hard,” Wildcats coach Dan Dona said. “I thought both teams left it all on the floor tonight.
“I am just pleased with how hard our kids played. Traveling down here is tough, but we are used to traveling and I just love being in this league.”
Jerico Gonzales and Jazz Swanson each scored 14 points for Weston Ranch. Kahale Warring led Sonora with 22 points.
East Union 43
The Lancers (0-1, 7-5) lost a heartbreaker on an unfortunate delfection at the buzzer in Tracy.
East Union was down 11 at one point in the second half but took the lead with less than 30 seconds remaining on Lucas Garcia’s 3-pointer. Kimball (1-0, 11-3) missed a shot in the final seconds in an attempt to win it, but while trying to secure the defensive rebound EU’s Jake Danhoff inadvertently tipped it in.
Dahhoff finished with 12 points to lead EU, while Drew Ruiz chipped in nine. Ali Habal paced Kimball with 15.
Sierra 64, Oakdale 42
Devin Nunez drilled five 3s to finish with 17 points, while Hunter Johnson (18 points) and Joshua Patton (10 points) dominated in the post for Sierra (1-0, 8-5).
Sonora 61, Weston Ranch 48
The Cougars could not recover from a five-point second quarter.
Tre Simmons led Weston Ranch with 22 points.
Weston Ranch 63, Sonora 26
The Wildcats were held to single digits every quarter.
Chedrick Ordonez led the Cougars with 17 points and Bryant Bowen added 10 points.
Sierra 51, Oakdale 29
The Timberwolves (1-0, 6-1) shot out to a 14-4 first quarter lead and didn’t look back.
Jamille Grady led three Sierra players in double figures with 14 points. Marcos Castillo and Noah Ault added 13 and 10, respectively, and Zakary Munkholm pumped in eight.