STOCKTON —Weston Ranch used its superior speed and quickness to dismantle visiting Oakdale in Wednesday’s Valley Oak League affair, 61-46.
The Cougars (8-2 VOL, 15-7 overall) travel to second-place Manteca for a marquee matchup Friday.
Jaelen Ragsdale paved the way with 25 points, including a 22-foot trey from the wing in the third to make a statement.
Prior to that, the Mustangs had cut Weston Ranch’s big halftime lead to single digit.
“We came out playing quick and fast (tempo) but couldn’t sustain it,” said Cougars coach Chris Teevan.
Weston Ranch used a full-court press defense spearheaded by the likes of Ragsdale, Tre Simmons and Fred Lavender to its advantage.
Oakdale (2-8 VOL, 6-15 overall) stumbled from the start, falling behind 11-4.
A Josh Dilg 3 coupled by baskets from Ragsdale and Lavender made it 20-10.
The Mustangs, behind the hot-hand of Shane Baxter, cut the lead to two to kick off the second quarter.
But just like that, the Cougars put together another run. Ragsdale followed up a trey by converting on a three-point play. He also scored off a steal.
Down 40-27 at the intermission, Oakdale opened the third with an 11-3 rally. But any thoughts of a comeback unraveled shortly after Ragsdale’s long trey.
Lavender, who had eight rebounds and three steals, and Simmons both chipped in with 12 points. Dilg added 8.
Baxter led Oakdale with 23 points.
Manteca 53, Kimball 48
In Tracy, Frankie Lopez came to the rescue for the Manteca (9-1 VOL, 17-5 overall) with four teammates sitting with two fouls apiece in the first half.
Lopez scored eight of his 14 points in the second quarter and totaled three 3-pointers. Kimball (4-6, 9-12) led 25-21 at halftime before the Buffaloes took over in the second half.
Anand Hundal racked up 16 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks to lead the way. Peter Van Katwk and Sai Padhy had 13 and 12 points, respectively, for the Jaguars.
“After we got into foul trouble they packed it in with a zone (defense) and sagged in on Anand,” Manteca coach Brett Lewis said. “Frankie hit a few big shots for us.”
The win was a big one as the Buffaloes remain a game back of VOL-leading Sierra. They take on third-place Weston Ranch at home Friday.
“Kimball is playing pretty well right now,” Lewis said. “We knew going in it was going to be a tough game, especially on the road.”
Manteca 51, Kimball 47
Jacob Tolbert spearheaded a balanced effort with 13 points. Inder Arandhawa, Jose Garcia and Eddie Santos pitched in eight each for the Buffaloes, who improved to 13-10 overall.
Kimball 68, Manteca 53
A poor shooting night led to the first loss in league for the Buffaloes (9-10, 17-3).
Kyle Bolding fired 17 points, Gino Campiotti had 16 and Antwan Taylor added 10.