WESTON RANCH – It didn’t take long for Weston Ranch to knock the wind out of the visiting Franklin Yellowjackets, jumping out to a 12-0 start on the way to a 79-59 win, the fourth straight for the Cougars, over Franklin Tuesday.
The Cougars got a game-high 19 points from senior Dylan Alexander in less than 20 minutes of action. Alexander came out scoring early, inheriting the gifts of a tenacious defensive effort in Weston Ranch’s 2-3 zone.
Weston Ranch capitalized on easy conversions at the rim after forcing Franklin into low-percentage perimeter shots and contested chances at the rim. The up-tempo Cougars, playing without the services of Daiveon Leverett, who is nursing an ankle injury, had no problem turning good defense into points.
“It was definitely an improvement,” Weston Ranch head coach Ryan Bono said. “(Monday) at practice, we spent an hour completely on defense. That is all we worked on; stopping penetration, and seeing the help side.
“I was proud of the way the guys played team defense tonight.”
Weston Ranch had a 22-point lead at the half, but refused to surrender any defensive effort over the game’s final two periods. Each unit that came into the contest gave Franklin difficulties, but Bono was forced to go back to his starters when the lead briefly slipped to 15.
“I think that we played well tonight,” Cougar starting guard Zerrion Payton said. “In games like this, if you come in and just expect to win, you come in sluggish, go through the motions and play bad.
“We came out and kept the intensity up and played well as a unit.”
Payton finished just behind Alexander in points with 18, while Justin Lassitter added nine.
Weston Ranch (4-3) will get some time in between games, with its next scheduled contest coming December 27 in the opening round of the Modesto Christian Holiday Hoop Classic.
W. Ranch 58, Franklin 45
The Cougars built a comfortable 32-18 halftime lead and fended off a late Franklin rally in their preseason win Tuesday.
Derek Gordon led the way with 21 points, while teammates Ernest Inis and Cory Ward chipped in with 15 and 12, respectively.
W. Ranch 48, Franklin 22
The Cougars were all business, building a huge first half-lead on their way to an easy victory.
Richard Maggay paced the club with 20 points, while Marcus Moore added 10 points in the Cougars (3-1) win.