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Trans Valley League tips off tonight

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Trans Valley League tips off tonight

Ripon Christian center Tyler Goslinga averages 16.6 points per game and enters Trans Valley League play as one of the conference's top post players.

Bulletin file photo/


POSTED January 20, 2009 1:08 a.m.

Let the Trans Valley League games begin.

Finally.

The six-team league’s schedule consisted of 15 games for each squad over the last few seasons, but now there are only 10.

With most conference regular seasons already underway, the Mother Lode League provided non-league opponents for the TVL to fill in the gaps, though last week’s contest did not count against the Sac-Joaquin Section’s playoff power ratings.

Modesto Christian is again favored to win both boys and girls titles.

Boys
Dumb question: Who in the TVL can stop Modesto Christian’s UCLA-bound star Reeves Nelson?

Obvious answer: Nobody.

The 6-foot-8, 230-pound star averages 24.2 points, and 6-5 wing Johnny Hutton checks in at a 17 ppg clip.

The good news for the rest of the TVL is that the Crusaders (7-7) aren’t as deep as in years past, but they are still plenty good enough to win a section title for the eighth consecutive year and second straight in Division IV.

“They’re the favorite until somebody beats them,” Ripon coach Rod Wright said.

Wright’s Indians (9-8) figure to be next in line. Returning all-TVL first-team guards Matt Ratto (15.9 ppg) and Efren Sifuentes (12.6 ppg) make up one of the top backcourt tandems in the conference, and 6-4 wing Dane Wells (10.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg) has emerged as a dangerous third option.

Ripon, which claimed three straight TVL championships until MC joined in 2006-07, won its final four non-league contests and five of its last six.

Crosstown foe Ripon Christian (9-7), Riverbank (7-8) and Hughson (4-8) could all threaten to knock off Ripon, while Escalon (5-12) continues to rebuild after winning the section’s Division IV championship in 2005.

Ripon Christian is blessed with size and is led by 6-7 junior center Tyler Goslinga (16.6 ppg, 8.6 ppg)
Girls
Hughson (11-4) enters league play with the best non-league record, but Modesto Christian (10-6) is still the team to beat.

MC faced seven out-of-section opponents during the preseason, and it owns victories over Sac-Joaquin Section Division III power Sacramento and MLL favorite Linden.

The Crusaders are led by juniors Brandi Henton (15.6 ppg) and Taryn Garza  (12.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg).

Hughson, Ripon (6-10) and Ripon Christian (6-7) will look to unseat Modesto Christian, while Riverbank and Escalon are simply looking to compete.

Ripon lost five of its last six non-league games, but the strength of its preseason schedule is rivaled only by Modesto Christian. Seniors Skye Dominguez and Jessica Blythe lead the young Indians.

Kelsey Tillema (9.5 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 2.1 bpg), a 5-10 junior center, and her Ripon Christian Knights will try to qualify for the second consecutive Division V postseason run.

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