LODI – There was one player in John Giannoni Gym standing with the basketball with the balance of the game resting on her decision.
And with just over 11 seconds remaining Weston Ranch’s Emoni Wilson decided to attempt a deep 3-point basket from the right-corner and drained it, cementing the Cougars’ 66-61 comeback victory over Tokay High Thursday. Weston Ranch trailed by as much as 14 points in a nonleague contest that pitted coach Chris Bauer against sister Jennifer.
Wilson combined efforts with teammate Leticia Infante in the second half to pull Weston Ranch from its double-digit deficit. The Cougars seized its first lead since 11-10 with a pair of Wilson free throws at 54-52. Those points would just be the beginning as Wilson would come back nearly five minutes late to seal Tokay’s fate.
“I knew I wad going to make it,” Wilson said of the jumper. “I really felt confident in my shot and I knew that it was going in.”
Wilson and Infante combined for 24 second-half points, taking advantage of a Tokay offense that went from impeccable to out-of-sync over the game’s final 10 minutes. Weston Ranch took care of the basketball down the stretch and also made good on the other necessity in winning a close game.
“They made their free throws,” Jennifer Bauer said. “We put them on the line way too much. They were 13-for-16 in the second half; you take that out and it’s a completely different ballgame.
Bauer, a former lower-level coach at Weston Ranch and East Union, looked well on her way to a victory over big brother Chris’ squad. The Tigers dominated the game behind the play of sophomore guard Kylie Henne and senior Tori Shallberge who combined to score 48 points, with Henne pouring 18 in the first half.
Weston Ranch’s defensive adjustments began underneath with Jakia Richmond and Jazmin Strane, eliminating Tokay’s second-chances on the offensive glass and confronting Tokay’s guard-play inside the painted area.
“We hadn’t played in almost two weeks, so it’s expected to be somewhat rusty,” the Cougars head coach said. “I think we missed 12 lay-ups in the first quarter. We made some adjustments at halftime and it was about rebounding the ball and finishing.”
Wilson led the Cougars with 18, while Infante had 11. Strane added eight points and 10 rebounds and Richmond finished in double-figures with 10.