When the Weston Ranch girls basketball team beat Sierra High to close out the Valley Oak League a year ago, the Cougars were hoping a postseason berth would be around the corner, but that berth never came.
After a quick walkthrough of Woodward Park in Fresno, the annual site of the CIF State Cross Country Championships, Ripon High head coach Paul Calkins and his runners settled into their hotel rooms at around 5:30 Friday night for a little rest and relaxation.
Just a short time ago, the Weston Ranch boys basketball squad was the premier team in the Valley Oak League, and the Lathrop Spartans were opening the gym for the hoops program for the very first time. After failing to reach the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs, the Cougars are poised to get back to the top of the league, whereas as Lathrop will be working through the exodus of one of its better players.
To be the champs, Ripon Christian's volleyball team must go through the champs.
Manteca and Sierra believe they have what it takes to make a run at the Valley Oak League championship this year.
Earning back-to-back outright championships in the Valley Oak League didn't come easily for Manteca High, and that was with dazzling point guard Kiwi Gardner setting gym floors ablaze.
The setters of the top teams in the Trans Valley and Southern leagues were voted the Most Valuable Players of each conference.
RIPON - The Knights didn't want to be one and done in this year's CIF State Northern California Division V volleyball championship tournament.
RIPON - It's an overused cliché, but the Ripon-St. Helena first-round match in the CIF State Northern California Division IV Championships Tuesday was truly played out like a heavyweight title bout.
In some ways, Ripon High volleyball coach Larry Keethe sees his team as an underdog despite its No. 1 ranking in the CIF Division IV State Championships, which begins today with Round 1 of the NorCal playoffs.
The Valley Oak League season saw the Sonora Wildcats and Oakdale Mustangs have their way along the schedule, but standout play from the other squads didn't go unrecognized, as the VOL's 2010 all-league team was recently announced.
The additions of Hilmar and Orestimba made the Trans Valley League even tougher Ripon High this year, and that was reflected in the all-conference selections.
DAVIS - The streak came to a halt for Ripon High varsity volleyball team.
DAVIS - They proudly held up four fingers.
One streak could continue, while another could come to an end.
Chris Teevan turned the game into a chess match, just as he had promised, sending five fast-action guards at the reigning Valley Oak League champions.
Early on, East Union High kept pace with crosstown rival Buffaloes before a jam-packed crowd at Winter Gymnasium on Friday.
In his fifth season, coach Alex Nuanez has the Sierra High wrestling program trending in the right direction.
ESCALON – Aaron Paschini scored 10 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter, fueling Ripon's late surge in a 53-49 victory on Friday night.
RIPON – The Ripon Christian Knights may not have been at their best in Thursday's Trans-Valley League clash against visiting Hughson, but they did battle back after surviving an early cold spell.
STOCKTON – Weston Ranch and Lathrop could only combine for eight first-quarter points Thursday but the Cougars went on a roll the rest of the way and defeated the visiting Spartans 55-26 in Valley Oak League girls basketball action.
OAKDALE – It was about this time last year that Olivia Vezaldenos and the East Union girls basketball team began their playoff push.
HUGHSON – Ripon Christian kept its perfect Trans-Valley League record intact but may have lost a key player in the process.
LATHROP – Jaelen Ragsdale had his best performance in weeks on a night when Lathrop star Isaiah Ellis struggled just to stay on the court.
The Lathrop wrestling team swept its Valley Oak League double-dual meet with Weston Ranch and Kimball on Wednesday.
RIPON – Sean Broker burrowed down in the post, a tree standing tall above the Tribe. Austin Alger danced around the perimeter.
The Sierra High girls basketball team turned to its defense to snap a five-game losing streak.
RIPON – Physically, Ed Mulder knew Ellen Blankers would be fine following knee surgery in the spring.
RIPON – The Ripon Christian girls basketball team hasn't had much success this decade against its across-the-street neighbor.
RIPON – Rod Wright and his staff are in charge of the official book, access to the locker rooms and providing a game ball.