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.
RIPON - Despite holding a five-point lead at halftime, Ripon High watched its lead over Linden dwindle down to a single point midway through the third quarter.
It was not the Sierra Timberwolves' best effort, but it was good enough to push them to a 1-0 mark in Valley Oak League play with a 47-36 home win over the Sonora Wildcats.
OAKDALE - The Manteca Buffaloes held a slim 24-17 halftime lead and never relinquished it during a 45-34 Valley Oak League opening win over the Oakdale Mustangs Tuesday.
Joseph Berry led three scorers in double figures with 14 points, and the Sierra High sophomore boys basketball team repelled the relentless Sonora Wildcats for a 48-47 home win to open the Valley Oak League season.
Manteca High junior Kiwi Gardner could miss a handful of games or forfeit the rest of his athletic eligibility depending on Sac-Joaquin Section sanctions. He will likely not play in tonight's Valley Oak League opener with visiting Oakdale.
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.
The perception around these parts is that Manteca rules the high school football scene, Sierra reigns in soccer and the softball crown rests on the heads of the Lancers of East Union.
History was made. Dreams were realized. Others were crushed.
WALNUT CREEK - Sierra High's wrestling team brought just 11 athletes to the Bill Martell Tournament Wednesday, but that was enough for it to leave its mark in its final tune-up for the Valley Oak League season.
The 5th Annual Lady Lancer Tournament at East Union High Wednesday lasted just 4 ½ hours.
SONORA – Sierra High will open up the 2010 Valley Oak League season with a visit from the Sonora Wildcats, so the Timberwolves' 52-47 win in the third-place game of the Dominick Fuchs Classic helped Sierra close out the preseason in the best possible way.
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.
Sealy McAdams and Elizabeth Tolbert's last two matches in Thursday's Valley Oak League Doubles Tournament held at East Union had entirely different endings.
Alyssa Burch hosted another block party at Manteca High's Winter Gym on Thursday.
Orestimba scored the first and final goals, but Ripon Christian did more than enough damage in between to leave Newman with a 5-2 victory and at least a share of the Southern League championship.
Injury-hampered Ripon gave up two second-half goals by Ulises Ramirez on set pieces and are now in danger of not repeating as league champions no thanks to Thursday's 2-0 loss at Escalon.
Gerardo Romero scored two goals and assisted another in East Union's 4-1 triumph at Sierra on Wednesday.
Weston Ranch's coronation looked as if it was going to be delayed.
Manteca had two game-point opportunities in an attempt to force a fifth set against visiting Weston Ranch but came up short in a 20-25, 25-27, 25-16, 30-32 defeat Wednesday.
East Union won the Valley Oak League title and Brooke Riley is the MVP.
Tuesday's Trans-Valley League rematch against Ripon was sure to have been circled on Riverbank's calendar.
TRACY - The road to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs just got a little longer for the East Union volleyball team.
Kevin Bolding summed up Manteca's trip to Oakdale as a "tough night."
Sierra just missed out on having another finalist in the Valley Oak League Singles Tournament.
RIPON -Hilmar had the look of a team that had been there, done that in tight situations.
Weston Ranch clinched a second straight postseason berth with Monday's resounding 7-1 victory at Lathrop.
That stunning loss to Orestimba appears to be in the rear-view mirror for Ripon Christian.