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Weston Ranch completes sweep in Tour of Manteca
Sierra guard Natalie Goulart escapes the full-court pressure of Weston Ranch’s Timnesha Wilson during Thursday’s Valley Oak League contest. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO
The first round of Weston Ranch High’s “Tour of Manteca” is over, but coach Chris Bauer is hoping that his Cougars’ recent stretch of solid play isn’t.

Weston Ranch opened up a 15-point lead midway through the second quarter and held off host Sierra’s late comeback charge in Thursday’s 64-54 Valley Oak League win.

Sophomore point guard Timnesha Wilson spearheaded the Cougars with 19 points, eight assists and five steals. Freshman center Jazmin Strane chipped in 16 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks, and Courtney Duran scored 13 points.

Weston Ranch (4-2, 14-5 overall) beat the three Manteca schools (the others being first-place East Union and Manteca) in succession, doing so for the first time in program history. But the Cougars are moving forward with the mindset that there is still much work left to be done.

“We’re improving; we’re definitely playing better than we were in the preseason,” Bauer said. “But now there are new things that we have to work on. We’re still not where we could be. We still have things to work on, get back to practice (today) and reinvent the wheel.”

The Cougars were impressive following the opening tipoff. They hit their shots from inside and out and were able to toss in easy buckets in transition because of their harassing defense.

Weston Ranch looked to break it open after Denell Fox’s transition layup, set up by a nice pass from Wilson from midcourt, made it 34-19 with 3:50 left in the second. Fox scored eight of her 11 in the quarter.

Sierra (2-4, 7-8) fought valiantly to stay within striking distance behind the strength of its posts, Heather Scharmann and Ariel McIntyre.
McIntyre’s strong finish in the paint capped a 7-0 run to close Sierra in 35-28 late in the second. Fox’s bucket ended up being Weston Ranch’s last field goal for the rest of the half.

“We weathered three of four periods there where we didn’t score,” Bauer said. “We hung in and showed a lot of growth in this game.”

Scharmann scored on a put-back with 4:10 remaining in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to four, 52-48. Weston Ranch answered by hitting eight straight free throws, six coming from Strane, to close it out.

McIntyre led all players with 21 points to go with 11 rebounds and two blocks. Scharmann finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.

Sierra was able to make a game of it by dominating the boards, 37-24, but failed to capitalize on many second-chance opportunities on the offensive end.

“We battled back but I’ll tell you what, they have a lot of energy and a lot of hustle,” Sierra coach Issac Gutierrez said. “Bottom line, they outhustled us, they outplayed us, and they outcoached me. We got beat. They’re a good, young team. I was very impressed.”

Weston Ranch wraps up the first half of regular-season play next Tuesday against visiting Ceres, while the Timberwolves head to Central Valley.