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Cougars leave Sonora with no shot
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Weston Ranchs Albert Luyon gave the Cougars quality minutes Saturday in their 56-34 Valley Oak League victory over Sonora High.

WESTON RANCH — Weston Ranch had every reason to come out flat.

The Cougars destroyed Sonora High in their first meeting by 30-plus points, practically assuring victory in the second meeting. The Saturday 5:30 p.m. game time was definitely a wrinkle in the club’s Valley Oak League schedule. And a gut-wrenching one-point win over Kimball surely could have sapped some of the team’s energy and effort.

Not this time.

Weston Ranch did everything the team was expected in a 56-34 win, drilling home a fact to the Sonora Wildcats that Daiveon Leverett is a VOL standout that can definitely have an undeniable impact on any court he’s on.

“Wednesday we had a bad practice before Kimball and it showed,” Weston Ranch head coach Chris Teevan said. “In the first quarter Daiveon set the tone for the whole first half. He has really come a long way. His attitude and our effort on defensively was outstanding.

“Sonora is obviously a good team; they just beat East Union, so that may have kind of helped us.”

Sonora found itself looking up at a 10-2 deficit before the snack bar was completely set up. Leverett was already three dunks in and the dominant Weston Ranch scoring attack – featuring Eric Duncan (10 points) and Dylan Alexander – was content with just feeding Leverett until he was full.

The team defensive effort left Sonora with minimal options. With a perimeter game that didn’t have shots falling and virtually nothing occurring inside the paint from its two best scorers, Sonora was forced to rely solely on hope to keep Weston Ranch within reach.

“I think we got a little intimidated,” Sonora head coach Rick Francis said. “Daiveon, he’s a pretty special player and when you have the great supporting cast with it, it’s tough. A lot of the time we talk about Alexander and Duncan, but I think their role players do a heck-of-a-job. They play great defense and they don’t get the recognition I feel they deserve. It takes five and the guys they brought off the bench they never broke down defensively and they kept working hard.

“They really understand their role, a lot of our younger players don’t really understand that everybody is not the dude.”

The Cougars got quality minutes from guard Albert Lyon and Justin Lassiter (10 points) throughout. Lyon and Duncan did a marvelous job creating and being patient with the offense, as well as pushing the pace on every Weston Ranch fast break opportunity. Understanding who they are as a group is a testament to the potential this year’s Cougars have.

“It was very important for us to come out with good tempo playing on a Saturday night,” Leverett said. “Our bodies are not really used to this, so we had to come out focused with a lot of energy.

“In the locker room before hand we were all real pumped for this game.”

The Cougars have a date with the Lathrop Spartans Wednesday before meeting up with the Sierra Timberwolves for a VOL showdown Friday at home.

“I think Sierra is the second best team in the area next to Modesto Christian,” Teevan said. “And they’re playing like it. They’re disciplined, they’re well coached and they’ve done it before; they did it last year.

“We’re the underdogs and we’ll have to definitely play our best.”