Sierra proved up to the challenge in its Valley Oak League encounter with visiting Weston Ranch on Friday.
Valley Oak League-leading Sierra took Lathrop's best punch and cruised to a 65-59 victory Thursday night.
RIPON - Riverbank survived a second-half charge from Ripon and escaped with a 43-39 overtime win in a pivotal duel between the Trans-Valley League's first-place teams.
STOCKTON - East Union came prepared for a track meet but left the sprint spikes at home.
Emery Sipe's conventional 3-point play with 1.4 seconds to go lifted host Oakdale to a dramatic 39-37 win over Lathrop on Wednesday.
In a first-place battle of teams with similar strengths, experience and Hunter Johnson proved to be the difference for reigning Valley Oak League champion Sierra.
Jourdy Richter drained five 3s and scored a season-high 22 points, and the Ripon girls basketball team had its best offensive game of the season in a 66-26 thrashing of visiting Hilmar on Tuesday.
Ripon Christian boys basketball coach Ron Vander Molen employed various zone defenses with hopes of neutralizing visiting Riverbank's speed advantage in their Trans-Valley League contest Tuesday.
No one will ever accuse a Scott Thomason-led team of looking past anybody.
RIPON - Mario Roach considers Ripon an "up-and-down" team that forces a frenetic pace with defensive pressure and constant movement on offense.
Olivia Vezaldenos broke out of a recent scoring slump Friday and led East Union to a 46-38 win over visiting Lathrop at Dalben Center.
Marcus Montano and the Manteca boys basketball team couldn't make a shot in the first quarter.
Sierra can now center its focus on the big games to come after steamrolling Kimball 59-38 on Thursday.
Ripon coach George Contente tested his team with a rugged schedule in the first month of the season, and it paid off in the Indians' Trans-Valley League opener Thursday.
Jessica Pablo missed East Union's final six pre-league contests after rolling an ankle in a game at Sonora.
Ripon Christian's first-round opponent?
Weston Ranch hadn't lost back-to-back games all season until it dropped its final two in the Valley Oak League.
George Contente looked at West Campus and Colfax as potential opponents first round opponents for his Ripon High girls basketball team.
Daniel Ruiz made five straight free throws in the final minute, 30 seconds, helping host Golden West edge previously-undefeated Sequoia 48-47 in Tuesday's thrilling Manteca Unified Student Trust small-school boys basketball championship game.
The Manteca girls basketball team's stumble to the finish line ultimately cost it a berth to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
Four Ripon players were recognized on senior night Tuesday, and they had more reason to celebrate following the Indians' 36-27 triumph over Escalon.
Anand Hundal once again came up short of his first career triple-double in Manteca High's 69-37 shellacking of visiting Oakdale in a regular-season finale Tuesday.
East Union is peaking at just the right time.
RIPON - Ripon Christian players jumped off their seats on the sideline and joined the five Knights on the court to celebrate their clinching of the Trans-Valley League outright title Friday night.
There will be little drama in the Valley Oak and Trans-Valley leagues tonight when the regular season comes to a close for Manteca area boys and girls basketball teams.
RIPON - Ripon Christian garnered its fourth league championship in five years Friday night, but no one would blame the Knights for relishing this one a little more than the rest.
Lathrop couldn't overcome a lackluster start in a 61-44 loss to visiting Kimball on Friday.
Jim Agostini sauntered back into Winter Gymnasium alongside assistant coach Rick Marsh, and as the door closed behind them their East Union girls basketball team could be heard celebrating a much-needed 58-48 win over Manteca on Thursday.
Elisabeth Alexander found her stroke early and never lost it.
Sierra has a way of making ugly wins look good.