The area's three remaining girls basketball teams are each one win away from qualifying for NorCals while advancing into the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs semifinal round.
For the remainder of the season it is win at all costs, and that was obviously the mindset for the East Union Lancers in their 58-48 Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III first-round win over Dixon High Tuesday at the Dalben Center.
Defense helped Manteca High overcome dry spells on the offensive end Tuesday in its first-round showdown with 12th-seeded Natomas in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III girls basketball playoffs.
RIPON - In the end, it didn't matter that the Ripon Christian girls basketball team nearly surrendered a 20-point lead and virtually invited the visiting Victory Christian Vikings into a game they were never in.
Being the second best team in the Trans Valley League was not good enough to earn Ripon High's girls basketball team a home game in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV playoffs, and it proved costly in the Indians' 78-68 overtime loss to Linden High Tuesday.
The Sierra High girls basketball barely earned one of 16 Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoff berths, but getting in earned the Timberwolves a matchup with the tourney's No. 1 seed,
WESTON RANCH - The season came to crashing halt Tuesday for the Weston Ranch High girls varsity basketball team.
Even though blue-chip prospect Josiah Turner, a 6-foot-3 point guard bound for Arizona, was dismissed by the team last month, Sacramento High may still be favored to defend its Division-III crown in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
With five teams qualifying and three Manteca Unified schools hosting a first-round game, the Valley Oak League is well-represented in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III girls basketball playoffs - so far.
Good news first: Sierra High's two losses to end the Valley Oak League girls basketball season last week had no effect on its postseason chances.
EL DORADO HILLS – Closing the Sac-Joaquin Section Divisional Wrestling tournaments with a berth into the SJS Masters meet was the primary goal, but Weston Ranch's Donnell Simms was able to take it a step further by winning the 189-pound championship on his way to the Masters.
Weston Ranch's boys basketball team was expected to contend for the Valley Oak League title this season, even with three sophomores in the starting lineup.
One team was trying to close out a frustrating season with one last quality effort.
LATHROP - J.J. Ramirez wants a commitment from his Lathrop High boys varsity basketball team.
The Ripon Indians opened the contest with a blistering start and never lost track, blasting Orestimba High 88-57 to close out the Trans Valley League boys basketball season Friday.
Ripon's Tristan Smith and Lathrop's Alex Garcia both finished fourth Saturday in the two-day Tim Brown Memorial Wrestling Tournament at the Jackson Sports Complex in McClellan.
Destiny Flores made two steals in the game's final 30 seconds Saturday to cap off a tremendous East Union comeback and help give the Lancers a thrilling 47-43 win over Ripon in the 5th Annual Hoops for the Cure Classic at Dalben Center.
Lathrop trimmed a 10-point second quarter deficit to three points with 55 seconds left to go in the first half Saturday but three quick Spartans turnovers led to a 12-point halftime lead for host Manteca in a 61-51 Valley Oak League boys basketball win for the Buffaloes at Winter Gymnasium.
Sierra proved up to the challenge in its Valley Oak League encounter with visiting Weston Ranch on Friday.
Manteca's Loretta Kakala could feel the anxiety building before the start of Friday's game.
RIPON - The Ripon Christian High expected a tough fight from visiting Escalon on Friday.
Valley Oak League-leading Sierra took Lathrop's best punch and cruised to a 65-59 victory Thursday night.
STOCKTON - Weston Ranch High orchestrated a 17-0 run in the second quarter while rolling past Kimball Thursday, 74-51.
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.
Loretta Kakala and the Manteca High girls basketball team dispatched one rival and appear ready for another.
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.
Sierra's wrestling team had a good showing at Central Catholic in a Valley Oak League double-dual meet Wednesday but settled for a split. The Timberwolves first topped Lathrop 51-27 before coming up short against the host Raiders, 48-30.
All-Area Girls Golfer of the Year Brooke Riley has committed to Northwestern, one of the top Division I women's golf programs in the nation.
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.