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WR, RC one win away from section finals
Logan Vos and the rest of Ripon Christian’s boys basketball team defeated Faith Christian 61-29 last Friday. The Knights are one win away from returning to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-V championship game. - photo by HIME ROMERO
The net-cutting ceremony in high school basketball is one usually reserved for the final regular-season home games for league championship teams.

Weston Ranch’s boys broke from tradition last Friday following its thrilling 76-66 win over No. 5 Cosumnes Oaks of Elk Grove in a raucous second-round matchup of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoffs.

Some of that had to do with to do with timing.

With three games left, the Cougars (26-2) clinched a share in Sonora, and in their next contest claimed the outright title at Kimball High in Tracy.

Their last game at home was against East Union, but after getting past that hurdle coach Ryan Bono didn’t want to celebrate anything yet with a perfect league season still at stake.

 “I’m superstitious,” Bono said after Friday’s win. “I told them that we won’t cut them down until we win our last home game of the playoffs.”

Problem: There may still be a home playoff game yet to be played. That all depends on what happens over the next few days.

Weston Ranch and Ripon Christian’s boys remain as the only teams from the area left standing. Both clinched berths to the NorCal tournament by advancing to the section semifinals. Should either, or both, win out, they will likely be rewarded with a first-round contest at home for NorCals.

But that is too far ahead to look considering what’s in front of them.

On Wednesday, fourth-seeded Weston Ranch takes on two-time reigning SJS Division-III champ Sacramento at Cosumnes River college in Sacramento.

The top-seeded Dragons (24-5) struggled to put away No. 9 Sierra, a league rival of Weston Ranch’s, in their quarterfinal-round game last Friday, winning 63-52 after falling behind by as much as 19 in the first half.

Ultimately, Sac High’s depth, size and all-around speed wore Sierra down. Weston Ranch can match up with its athleticism, but 6-foot-7 sophomore Daiveon Leverett will surely have his hands full with Santa Clara-bound Robert Garrett, a 6-11 center who averages 13.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.1 blocks.

Erik Kinney (11.7 points, 10.2 rebounds), a 6-4 junior forward, Darius Graham (10.9 points, 4.8 assists), sophomore Aaron Cameron (10.8 points) and De’Von Boyd have made up for the transfer of star point guard Josiah Turner.

“That’ll be a good matchup,” said Weston Ranch guard Andre Beard after producing 23 points and 16 rebounds against Cosumnes Oaks. “It’ll let us know where we are.”

Ripon Christian (24-5), the No. 1 seed in the Division-V bracket, will also be challenged after routing Tioga and Faith Christian by an average of 33 points.

Battle-tested Vacaville Christian (23-6), seeded fourth, meets RC tonight at Galt High. The Falcons placed third in the competitive Sierra Delta League but has a win over co-champion Bradshaw Christian, which likely would have been the No. 1-ranked squad in D-V had it not lost.

Vacaville could pose problems for the Knights with its speed and depth. Guard Jake Abel leads the way with 16.6 points, 10.1 assists and 3.6 steals, and 6-1 forward Brandon Barnes averages 12.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.3 steals and 3.7 blocks.

Ripon Christian is looking to return to Power Balance Arena (formerly Arco Arena) after dropping last year’s finale 68-64 to Victory Christian in overtime. The Knights are on a 19-game winning streak.