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.
Riverbank worked its late-game magic yet again, and it helped the Bruins garner at least a share of the Trans-Valley League title Tuesday when they edged Ripon in overtime, 44-43.
RIPON - In a Trans-Valley League tilt between two guard-oriented teams, it was the two "bigs" who made all the difference for Ripon on Tuesday.
Tonight, Manteca High will play for much more than a share of first place in the Valley Oak League.
Lathrop High's Alex Garcia and Tristan Smith of Ripon are both rated No. 3 in their respective weight classes, according to The California Wrestler's Sac-Joaquin Section rankings.
Aysia Cortez of Venture/Excel Academy won the 126-pound championship Saturday in the Sac-Joaquin Section Girls Wrestling Regional Invitational at McNair High in a thrilling 13-11 overtime match with Miranda Lamela of Pacheco-Los Banos.
Ripon High defeated visiting Modesto High on Saturday 35-20 in non-league girls' basketball action.
Garbage time does not apply to Sierra's boys basketball team.
Aysia Cortez and Mia Hill both went undefeated in the first day of the Sac-Joaquin Section Girls Wrestling Regional Invitational held at McNair High in Stockton on Friday. They are among the six Manteca-area grapplers still in the hunt for top-five spots and a berth to the CIF State Championships.
Ripon Christian three-sport athlete Kyle Colyn has signed a letter of intent to play golf at Dordt College in the fall.
Manteca High wanted to send a message to the pundits keeping close watch on the Sac-Joaquin Section's boys basketball scene.
Things just got a little more interesting in the Trans-Valley League after Ripon Christian was dealt its first conference loss Friday at Riverbank, 70-60.
RIPON - Nicole Graham's 3-pointer drew Ripon Christian within two points of Riverbank with 1:10 left in the in the fourth quarter Thursday. She followed that up with a steal, but the Knights would not score again as the Bruins went home with a 34-31 win in Trans-Valley League girls basketball action.
Leah Manuleleua put a positive spin on what she called a "frustrating" night for herself and the Manteca girls basketball team.
LATHROP - The East Union High Lancers dictated Thursday's Valley Oak League game at Lathrop by unleashing pressure defense.
Lathrop's last three baskets from the field were from beyond the 3-point arc and with the shot clock running down on each shot, keeping host East Union from mounting a late comeback as the Spartans left Dalben Center with a 65-55 Valley Oak League boys basketball victory Wednesday.