If there was a perfect way for the three-time defending Valley Oak League champions to tip off their regular season, the Ceres Bulldogs would likely say they witnessed that performance in the East Union Lancers' 52-29 win.
Manteca High's boys basketball team opens Valley Oak League play tonight against visiting Oakdale with a pedestrian 7-4 preseason mark, but do not be deceived into believing the Buffaloes are an average squad.
Entering a season with at least a portion of the past three Valley Oak League championships, and four of the past five, would usually make the defending champs the odds-on-favorite to close the season with another one. But the dominance the East Union Lancers have held over their VOL counterparts will hold little merit as the league season gets underway Tuesday for the nine VOL girls basketball programs.
RIPON – When the Oakdale Mustangs turned up their full-court pressure, Ripon Christian was unable to conquer the challenge, falling to the Mustangs 47-32 in the championship of the Lady Knights Classic Wednesday at Ripon Christian.
SALIDA - One day after notching its biggest win of the season, the Ripon boys basketball team appeared ready to ride that momentum after a quality first-quarter effort against Merced in a third-round consolation game of the Modesto Christian Holiday Hoops Classic Tuesday.
Kelsey Johnston opened the season as one of Ripon High's key ingredients for a team hoping to make another lengthy push in the Sac-Joaquin Section postseason. By the time the season closed Johnston was the main ingredient of an impressive Indian playoff run and The Bulletin's 2009 All-Area Volleyball MVP.
With the graduation of two of arguably the best girls golfers in East Union golf history, the Lancers had huge spikes to fill following three straight Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championship runs.
Sierra High standouts Jena Anderson and Stephanie Vanni put together a season that left the Valley Oak League's doubles teams in an unfair position of knowing they were going to lose.
RIPON – Millennium High looked as if it was up for the challenge, but a 22-7 run to open the second quarter provided Ripon Christian with all the cushion the Knights would need to win the opener of their own tournament, 77-63.
STOCKTON – With heads hanging low and a scoreboard reading the improbable, the East Union Lancers walked into the locker room searching for answers. Those answers came in the form of long-range shooting, with the Lancers outscoring Bear Creek by 22 points in a come-from-behind 84-80 win over the Bruins Wednesday in Stockton.
WESTON RANCH – Going into the final period it looked as if both team had an opportunity to snatch a pivotal non league win, but an 18-2 fourth quarter run was too much for the Ripon Indians to deal with during their 59-37 loss to Weston Ranch Tuesday in Stockton.
WESTON RANCH – Beating Golden valley High in the Cougar Duals Tournament championship match would have been nice, but the Weston Ranch Cougars will settle for a 4-1 record and the division II tournament title.
With 4.4 seconds remaining in the contest the Manteca Buffaloes strolled out of their final timeout with only one chance at victory. The chance became reality when sophomore Jaqi Gutierrez nailed a desperation 3-pointer as time expired, sending the Buffaloe faithful into frenzy and the Pitman Pride home with a 57-55 loss.
It has been more than 50 years since Marty Teunissen first started a Christmas tree lot that helped provide the traditional evergreen in order to give parents and Santa Claus a place to hide the presents.
Bob Marley sang about how the sun is shining and the weather is sweet.
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