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It’s VOL vs. TCC in opening round of Division III playoffs

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It’s VOL vs. TCC in opening round of Division III playoffs

Manteca standout Courtney Range tries to get a piece of the ball as Candisse Griffin attempts a jumper from the baseline during a pivotal Valley Oak League contest.


POSTED February 14, 2013 11:51 p.m.

The Valley Oak League’s top two girls basketball teams are set to encounter the best two from the Tri-County Conference in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoffs next Tuesday.

The winners of each game will then challenge the two powerhouses of the bracket.

Manteca (20-6), fresh off its third straight VOL championship, and Weston Ranch (17-8) both have major roadblocks en route to the semifinals and a berth to the NorCal tournament.

Ripon Christian is the area’s highest-seeded team at 4 in Division V. The Knights have a first-round bye, while neighboring Ripon is No. 5 in Division IV.

Manteca’s seventh-seeded Buffaloes can’t take its first-round opponent lightly. TCC runner-up Inderkum (17-10) visits from Sacramento with some momentum behind it. The No. 10 Tigers enter the postseason riding a six-game winning streak which includes a 39-36 win over TCC champ River Valley. A loss to 2-22 Pioneer kept them from earning a piece of a third straight title, but they’ve been on a roll since.

Inderkum is led by 5-foot-7 senior guard Sakara Brewer (15.2 ppg), 5-10 sophomore Kyliyah Daniel (8.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg) and promising freshman point guard Shymir Mitschan-Baldwin (5.9 ppg, 4.0 apg, 3.6 rpg, 2.4 spg).

Inderkum has some notable wins over Sheldon and Benicia. The Tigers used a second-half burst to race past Benicia 40-25, and Benicia would later squeak past Manteca 54-52 during Bethel High’s MLK Jr. Jamboree.

The loss to Benicia is Manteca’s lone blemish with 6-foot-2 Courtney Range in the lineup. The Cal-bound standout sat out the entire pre-league schedule because of the California Interscholastic Federation’s newly-implemented 30-day transfer rule.

Range, however, is hobbled by an ankle injury that kept her sidelined for Manteca’s final two league contests. The Buffaloes were also without shooting guard Jessica Hasal (concussion).

The 8-9 matchup between host River City (19-7) of Yuba City and Weston Ranch is intriguing. Both are balanced with solid post players and speed in the backcourt.

Falcons 6-2 center Taylor Massengale (9.9 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 3.8 bpg) is an imposing presence in the paint. She is joined by Sarah Brennan (7.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and Jagreet Gosal (6.6 ppg) in the frontcourt. Aleqse Hawkins (9.9 ppg, 3.9 apg, 3.4 spg) and Amrita Dale (7.3 ppg) are their top guards.

River Valley has two nonleague losses to third-seeded Rio Americano but was competitive in both contests. The Falcons also lost to Davis, the No. 6 team in the loaded Division-I playoffs, by just two, 41-39.


Division IV

Fifth-seeded Ripon (22-4) will likely have to get past two Mother Lode League teams to reach the semifinals.

First is No. 12 Bret Harte (16-10), the MLL’s third-place squad. Unless Trans-Valley League rival Riverbank pulls off the upset, the Indians travel to Jackson in the second round to meet undefeated Argonaut, which drubbed Bret Harte by an average margin of 21 points in three MLL clashes.

Kesley Switzer (13.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.7 spg), a versatile 5-9 wing, anchors Bret Harte. Anyone in its supporting class — which includes six-footer Sami Seider (6.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg) and guards Jessie Evans (7.0 ppg), Cassidy Davis (5.8 ppg) and Haley Warner (5.2 ppg) — are capable of taking over in spurts.

Ripon has won 13 of its last 14 and boasts a 61-58 win over juggernaut Modesto Christian to garner a share of its first TVL title in eight years.


Division V

The two-time reigning Southern League co-champion Knights of Ripon Christian (19-6) will have extra time to prepare for its first opponent, which likely will be No. 5 Woodland Christian (24-3). The Cardinals begin with No. 12 Le Grand (8-15).

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