BOYS BASKETBALL: Weston Ranch Ready to Take on Trojans

Boys basketball begins their second season tonight. Weston Ranch plays Oak Ridge High School from El Dorado Hills in the 2022 CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Boys Basketball Playoffs. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 pm.  

“I’m excited for our guys to have the opportunity to host a postseason game in front of our wonderful students, faculty, staff, administration, and fans,” said head coach Nicholas Podesta. 

While the other VOL schools (Manteca, Kimball, Central Catholic, and East Union) will play in the Division III tournament, the VOL Champion Cougars will play in the Division 1 bracket due to their inclusion in the 2018 Open Division and their successful run in the 2019 Division I tournament. In addition, the Cougars also won the Division II NorCal championship in 2019, thus moving into the more competitive D I bracket.  

Tonight’s game vs. Oak Ridge should be another tough test for the Cougars. Oak Ridge will take the floor as the #11 seed, but don’t let that fool you. The Trojans are 16-11 overall and took 4th place in the challenging Sierra Foothill League, which features Folsom, Whitney, and Granite Bay. Folsom is the #2 seed in D I. Both Whitney and Granite Bay were placed in the D II bracket and seeded high. However, the Trojans can score (averaging 71 points per game) and play good defense. It should be a terrific matchup as both teams are very similar in styles.

“Oak Ridge is battle-tested, playing in one of the best leagues in Northern California,” Podesta said. “They have a lot of talent and will no doubt be ready for what should be a tightly contested game. Our team is looking forward to the challenge.

The Cougars have played in games like tonight’s all year. Their competitive pre-season schedule, along with their tough battles inside the VOL, has given the Cougars quality experiences, which should set them up nicely for the pressure-packed playoff atmosphere. They should be ready but are taking a business as usual approach.  

“We are approaching this game like every other game, one day and one practice at a time,” Podesta said. “Our captains have done an exceptional job of setting the tone and really taking this team over. We’re not a “young team” anymore, and this is their team. Although I believe the tricky scheduling and early adversity we’ve faced have expedited their experience and development, I expect our guys to be ready for the big moment. They’ve earned this opportunity, and it’s time for them to cash in their chips and reap the reward of their hard work this season.”