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.
With the Valley Oak League championship already annexed by Manteca High's girls basketball team, the buzz surrounding its anticipated regular-season showdown with rival East Union took a little bit of a hit.
WESTON RANCH - With Sac-Joaquin Section postseason positioning at stake, intensity was not a problem for Weston Ranch and Sierra's girls basketball teams Thursday in their Valley Oak League finale.
RIPON - Thursday might have been senior night for the Ripon High girls basketball team, but it was a sophomore guard who came in off the bench and made the biggest impact in the Indians' last Trans Valley League game.
Winning felt so good for Lathrop High's girls basketball team after Tuesday's victory that the Spartans decided to do it again, putting together a fourth-quarter comeback to sting the Kimball 46-36 in both clubs' Valley Oak League finale.
Eddie Andrade is a young man of few words.
WESTON RANCH - As predicted, the East Union High boys varsity basketball game at Weston Ranch Wednesday was an up-and-down, high-scoring affair.
Lathrop High's varsity boys basketball team has one last chance to notch its first-ever Valley Oak League victory.
The Manteca area's top two high school boys golfers did not go head-to-head on Wednesday, but their teams did.
Sierra's bats started hot, its pitcher got into a groove later and the defense was solid throughout.
In a span of a little bit over five minutes – 5:23, to be exact – the Ripon Indians scored a barrage of goals Tuesday against defending Trans Valley League champion Escalon.
Modesto Christian limited Ripon to just four hits, but the Indians took advantage of seven walks and five errors to post a 9-6 Trans-Valley League baseball win in Salida on Tuesday.
LATHROP - Practice makes perfect.
The Ripon High coed tennis team got clutch victories from its doubles tandems, and the Indians ended visiting Escalon's Trans-Valley League win streak at 88 with a 5-4 stunner last Friday.
After Monday's results in the Valley Oak League, East Union is once again the team everyone else is chasing.
Behind the catcher's mask and all that armor, Jake Souza is a modern-day knight picked to help lead Sierra High's conquest.
Greg Jones knocked in four runs Friday for Manteca and was a home run shy of the cycle as the Buffaloes tallied 11 hits in a 9-4 win over visiting Weston Ranch to wrap up a home-and-home sweep of the Cougars in Valley Oak League baseball action.
East Union's week of heartbreaking losses ended with yet another on Friday.
Manteca's softball team came out swinging in Friday's Valley Oak League contest at Oakdale.
Sierra's swimmers are beginning to peak, though it didn't show in the final outcome of their Valley Oak League dual meet with host Oakdale on Friday.
Matt Rose shot a three-over par 40 to lead the Sierra Timberwolves past rival Manteca in a three-way Valley Oak League golf match at the Manteca Park Golf Course on Thursday.
As assistant coach, Vic DeAnda got to see the Sierra's two best softball pitchers go through the program over the past eight years.
The Sierra boys tennis team exacted revenge against visiting cross-town foe East Union on Thursday, winning 5-4 despite dropping the first three singles matches.