BOYS BASKETBALL: Cougars and Vikings Ready for Round Two


Richard Banks, Elliot Mobley, Khristian Holmes, and Elijah Mobley

Weston Ranch takes on Edison tonight at Edison and will look to avenge a Jan. 4 68-65 SJAA opening loss. A lot is at stake for both schools, and tonight’s matchup should be fast-paced, high-scoring, and dramatic.

“Tonight’s game is an important contest from a league championship standpoint,” said head coach Nicholas Podesta. “However, to remain in striking distance of the league title, we’ll need a win tonight to get back into first place.”

Edison (15-3) and Weston Ranch (11-9) are rolling through the SJAA. The Vikings are 7-0 in the SJAA, haven’t lost since Dec. 28 (a 69-32 defeat to Campolindo), and own an 11-game win streak. Edison has racked up 517 points in the SJAA (73 points per game average) and given up 305 (43 points per game average. Weston Ranch is 6-1 in the SJAA, has yet to lose since Jan. 4 (to Edison), and is riding a 9-game winning streak. The Cougars have collected 593 points in the SJAA (averaging 84) and surrendered 298 (holding teams to an average of 42 points). So, both teams can score and defend, making tonight’s game a must-see if you’re a high school basketball fan.

The Cougars again will have to defend one of the area’s best players in Leon Mills. On Jan. 4, Mills went 6-12 from the floor and a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line for an ending total of 20 points. The 6’1″ senior averages 19 per game and will look to lead another furious attack where in the last matchup, the Vikings had the Cougars down 20-8 at the end of the first quarter. Although Weston Ranch recovered towards the end, the early hole forced the Cougars to play catch up, a spot Weston Ranch had been in the entire preseason. Mills will be at the top of the Cougars guys-to-stop list, along with Jehahn Williams (12 points per game) and Cruz Burrise (8 points per game).

Weston Ranch will look to Elijah Mobley, Khristian Holmes, Elliot Mobley, and Richard Banks to provide the spark offensively. All four average double figures and each can take over a game with scoring. However, the Cougars will need to shoot better against the Vikings as a team. In the last matchup, the Vikings were able to lock down the explosive Cougars and held Weston Ranch to 36% from the floor. The Cougars shot well from the free throw line (17-22) but were stone-cold from 3s, going 2-19. So, as tonight’s matchup looms, the Cougars will look to correct the mistakes and focus and how to beat the Vikings.

“We started slowly against Edison last game in our league opener but played significantly better through regulation,” Podesta said. “We must ensure we have better energy to begin the contest.”

Tonight’s game should be another epic page in what is shaping up to be a terrific rivalry between the schools. The winner will be tied for first place (a Weston Ranch victory), or the winner will hold on to the top spot and cruise to the SJAA championship (an Edison victory). Get your popcorn ready.

Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30.