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.
Eric Broker fired 13 points, made all five of his free throws and grabbed nine rebounds to lead Ripon Christian's 51-29 win at Denair on Tuesday.
The awards keep pouring in for Alex Laurel and Billy Sharmoug, the Manteca Bulletin's 2013 All-Area Football Co-MVPs.
Ripon Christian's girls basketball team rolled to its seventh straight win Monday, crushing visiting Denair 71-28.
ESCALON – East Union head coach A.J. Reindel only took seven of his wrestlers to Friday and Saturday's Lloyd C. Engel Tournament at Escalon High, and two of them returned home with championships.
Sierra came oh-so-close to winning at East Union's Dalben Center the last time the intra-city rivals met.
RIPON – After having its 43-game Southern League winning streak snapped on Tuesday night, Ripon Christian's entire starting five played inspired basketball on Friday.
STOCKTON -- The Weston Ranch Cougars came ready to play Friday against Manteca.
This may not be the veteran Sierra team that made the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III finals the last two years, but it is still Sierra.
Dave Asuncion slammed his clipboard to the hardwood violently during the third quarter of Thursday's Valley Oak League showdown at Winter Gym.
East Union High 2011 graduates TJ Gordon and Dominic Borba took similar routes to where they're currently at – taking their talents to NAIA schools and continuing their football careers.
Even in defeat, the East Union girls basketball team learned plenty about itself in Wednesday's Valley Oak League-opening contest with visiting Kimball.
STOCKTON - With a random draw to determine the starting weight in dual wrestling matches, the final bout of the night is not often between the heavyweights.
LATHROP -The Manteca High Buffaloes put behind their preseason woes to roll past the host Spartans on Wednesday, 42-26.
The Sierra girls basketball team went into halftime leading by a comfortable margin during its Valley Oak League opener against visiting Oakdale Wednesday night.
By JAMES BURNS