The Prowl

The Student News Site of Weston Ranch High School

The Prowl

The Prowl

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Lady Cougars Look to Get Win #7 at Stagg


The Weston Ranch girls varsity basketball team is quietly making a name for itself. After beginning the season with a 1-4 record, the Lady Cougars are now 6-4 and have reeled off five straight wins, a share of first place in the SJAA, and earned a #3 ranking in the Sac-Joaquin Section for Division 3 schools. And tonight, Weston Ranch hopes to make it win number seven as the Lady Cougars take on Stagg High School at Stagg in a battle of two of the SJAA’s current league leaders.

The 1-4 start included losses to four powerhouse high school programs with 50 wins between them (Christian Brothers, 14 wins; Calaveras, 14 wins; St. Mary’s, 12 wins; McClatchy, 12 wins). The brutal non-league schedule was demanding and challenging; however, playing top-level competition even in defeat has prepared the Lady Cougars to make a big run for the remainder of the season. So, what’s been the reason for the resurgence during the win streak?

The turnaround centers around getting back to basics and simply talking to each other on and off the court.

“Communication has been really good on and off the court,” said SR. forward Janay Holmes. “We take care of each other, and we’ve focused on how we can help each other to get better.”

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SR. guard Kimani Wilburn added, “Communication on the sidelines has been good. We’re talking during the JV game and looking for ways to improve before we play. Coach Mac (head coach Damion McMiller) has been good at motivating us, but he also lets us play. So it’s a good balance.”

Tonight’s game with Stagg is shaping up to be a great early matchup for the two schools. Both programs are on a five-game win streak. Tonight’s game also features the top two scoring teams in the SJAA. MaxPreps says Weston Ranch leads the SJAA with 115 points, while Stagg is second with 105. Finally, both schools are in the top four for points allowed (Weston Ranch has given up 50, and Stagg has allowed 58), so something will have to give way during tonight’s contest. And in the game’s opening moments, both Holmes and Wilburn know the first moments of the game are critical for establishing the pace.

“We want to lock down the central court by pressing,” Holmes said when asked about the plan for the first five minutes. “If we can do that, we’ll get more turnovers and better-scoring chances offensively and through transitions.”

Wilburn added, “We will try different things and create different looks to see how Stagg will defend us. Once we figure that out, we’ll use what we learned. We know they’re a quick team, so we’ll have to make sure we can match their speed.”

The Lady Cougars must defend against several of the Delta Queen’s top performers. Junior Jameelah Pharms leads the team in scoring (19) and assists (3). Neeyah Webster is second in scoring (9) and nearly averages five rebounds per game. Destiny Martinez is also someone Weston Ranch will need to keep away from the basket, as she leads the team in rebounding with five per game. However, Weston Ranch is coming off a hard-fought victory over Sierra, who had a good mix of players, so the Cougars are confident with any style of player and play.

“We have better size, and our shooting and passing are better than Stagg,” Holmes said. “I feel like Stagg will be a lot like the Sierra game. We’ll have to grind this one out because both teams can score and play good defense.”

Tonight’s game with Stagg is at Stagg, but sometimes the Lady Cougars respond better traveling to play. And they’re used to that because seven of their ten games have been on the road.

“I think we’re good with being home or away,” Wilburn said. “We do like away games because we know we have to work together because when you’re on the road, there are things we can’t control as we can at home, so our focus is better.”

A win tonight at Stagg means Weston Ranch will move to 3-0 and take over the top spot in the early stages of the SJAA season. They can make a lot of noise tonight with a win.

All three levels play at Stagg. The freshman play at 4:30, and the JV will follow at 6. Finally, the Varsity will tip off at 7:30.


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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Lady Cougars Look to Get Win #7 at Stagg