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Weston Ranch beats Sonora, claims share of VOL hoop title
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SONORA – The Weston Ranch High boys varsity basketball team claimed at least a share of the Valley Oak League title Wednesday thanks to a 65-56 victory at Sonora.

The first-place Cougars (11-0, 21-2) currently hold a three-game lead with three games remaining, and can claim the VOL crown outright with a win at Kimball on Friday.

 After toppling highly touted Modesto Christian over the weekend, Weston Ranch coach Ryan Bono warned his team about the Wildcats.

“I told them that Sonora is one of the toughest places to play in the VOL,” he said.

The Wildcats offered up a height advantage with the front line of Mark Relei (6-6), Alex Kiriluk (6-4) and Tayler Thompson (6-7), to name a few.

“They controlled the boards in the first half,” Bono said. “It didn’t help that we got in early foul trouble.”

Sonora (7-4, 12-10) also played physical, managing second-chance baskets from offensive rebounds.

It wasn’t until the third quarter that the Cougars finally settled into their game.

 “Once we held them down (on rebounds) it was one and done,” said Bono.

Weston Ranch, which maintained a slight lead, built up a 49-37 advantage in the third quarter, with Sonora spending most of the final period playing catch-up ball.

As usual, the Cougars relied on a balanced scoring attack consisting of Dylan Alexander (18 points, six rebounds), Andre Beard (11 points, eight boards), Melvin Allen (14 points, three assists), and Zerrion Payton (11 points, four assists).

In the short history of the school, Weston Ranch can boast its third VOL crowns in seven years. Included was a share of the 2006 title with Sonora.