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History in the making: Weston Ranch moves on
Cougars cement playoff status with win
Dawn Kilpatrick drives the lane for two. - photo by BRANDON PETERSEN/The Bulletin
WESTON RANCH – It was an emotional evening all around at Weston Ranch Thursday night as the Cougars beat Sierra, 56-39, to insure their first ever trip to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs.
The contest also served as the final farewell to a group of eight seniors at Sierra High, a talented class of athletes that left in all on the court, even in defeat.
In the end though, the night belonged to the history-making Cougars and their lone senior, Deanna Dawson, a four-year basketball player who was showered with gifts from her teammates before the contest and started both the first and second halves.
“I’m really happy,” Dawson said. “I’m really proud of my team; this is one of the best games we’ve played yet. We played like a family, just like I always knew I could. (My teammates) exceeded my expectations.”
There wasn’t much the Cougars didn’t do right Thursday as Courtney Duran got the party started with a pair of first-quarter 3-pointers and the Cougars raced out to a 21-14 advantage.
DeArbia Gardner (7 points) hit her own triple to start the second and Danell Fox’s third offensive putback made it 28-14 with three minutes left in the first half.
Fox was outstanding, finishing with a game-high 20 points, and single-handedly putting the game out of reach. Fox closed the third quarter with six straight points, making it 44-33.
“Hats off to Danell, she played well,” Cougars head coach Chris Bauer said. “We got the ball up and down the court. (Dawson) did well, getting a win on her senior night. I can’t say enough about the kids and how hard they played this year.”
The same could be said for Sierra’s twin towers, Ariel McIntyre (16 points) and Heather Scharmann (12 points).
There wasn’t a more potent post duo in the Valley Oak League this season, and both McIntyre and Scharmann received a warm ovation from the Sierra faithful as they made their way off the court in the closing moments of the fourth.
Natalie Goulart (8 points) and Dawn Kilpatrick (5 points) also turned in top-notch curtain call performances and alongside fellow seniors Rebecca Wroten, Sharisse Atkins, Mariah Gary and Chardonnay Padilla shared a few tears afterward.
“We played with all the heart we had,” Sierra assistant coach Martha Spivey said. “The seniors came out and gave us their all. We went out on a good note, I know we lost, but it was the emotion behind it that was special.
“We played for each other tonight.”
Timnesha Wilson finished with 12 for Weston Ranch, and Jazmin Strane added eight.
The Cougars were rated 12th in the last SJS D-III power ratings, and now await Saturday to find out where they will be headed for the first round of the postseason.
“The first time in program history that we’ve made it to the playoffs – that’s huge for us,” Bauer said.
Said Dawson: “In my high school career, we haven’t been to the playoffs, so this is really exciting for me. I’m just looking forward to being successful in the playoffs.”