The parity in the Valley Oak League has made for an exciting season for boys and girls basketball, but it also has several teams scrapping for postseason berths according to the first release of the Sac-Joaquin Section's playoff power ratings.
It's all about control for East Union High's girls basketball team these days.
TURLOCK - East Union High's varsity wrestling team brought just four competitors at Pitman High's 5th Annual Rumble in the Jungle Saturday, but all four produced noteworthy results.
CERES - A loss at Central Valley would have been disastrous to the East Union boys basketball team's postseason hopes, and they were a few big plays, from emerging junior Robert Vaughn, away from letting that happen.
Alison Telles scored 16 of her 21 points to highlight East Union's 50-28 sophomore girls basketball victory at rival Sierra Monday.
LATHROP – By the time Lathrop High's girls varsity basketball team found a handle on its Valley Oak League contest with Oakdale High, the Mustangs were in the midst of an 18-2 run and easily on their way to a 51-28 win over the Spartans Saturday.
HANFORD – A handful of area wrestlers made their way south to compete in the California Girls Wrestling Invitational at Hanford West High just outside of Fresno. The tournament is the final tune-up for the Sac-Joaquin Women's Masters Tournament taking place Feb. 5-6 in Stockton.
RIPON – Ripon High piqued the crowds' anxiety to maximum heights when Andy Bunting pulled the Indians to within three on a layup after a steal with 1:23 remaining, but that would be as close as crosstown host Ripon Christian would have it in its 52-47 Trans Valley League Friday.
A telling statistical category for Sierra High's boys basketball team this season is points allowed.
SONORA - Sonora torched undersized East Union in the post in its 81-67 win on Jan. 6.
The Sierra High boys sophomore basketball team entered the fourth quarter trailing by four points, but a dominant final period lifted the Timberwolves to a comfortable 59-51 Valley Oak League win over the visiting Ceres Bulldogs.
RIPON - It took 7 minutes, 34 seconds for Ripon High's girls basketball team to sink its first field goal Thursday - a jumper from the right elbow off the fingertips of Adrianna Mayberry.
Sierra High's football team reached unprecedented heights last fall and was rewarded for it.
Trailing by double digits going into halftime provided the Sonora Wildcats with all the motivation they would need, mounting a ferocious comeback only to fall to the host East Union Lancers 47-42 in Valley Oak League girls basketball play Thursday.
The Ripon Christian boys soccer program has waited nearly 20 years for an opportunity to win another Sac-Joaquin Section championship.
STOCKTON - Weston Ranch put up two first-half goals and outshot visiting Natomas 17-8 on the way to a 2-0 win for the Cougars in semifinal action of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV soccer playoffs Wednesday.
RIPON - Kyle Colyn's cheek twitched with nervous excitement and it was all he could do to suppress a smile.
Ripon and Ripon Christian are heading to Gold Country tonight for their Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoff matches.
Cherish Burks verbally committed to Oregon as a sophomore, but her decision was made long before that.
Joshua Patton can rest comfortably now.
Sierra High's Haley Silva is staying close to home for college.
RIPON - Thirteen days after giving birth to her first child, head coach Adrienne Beltrami returned to the sidelines Tuesday to lead Ripon in its first-round match against No. 13 seed Central Catholic in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs.
RIPON - Ripon Christian and West Campus squared off as two evenly matched teams in the first round Sac-Joaquin Division IV volleyball playoffs.
Sac-Joaquin Section banners are within reach for the Weston Ranch and Ripon Christian boys soccer teams.
Two down, two more to go for Ripon High's boys water polo team.
Not even a disastrous start to her second nine could derail Brooke Riley's round Monday morning.
RIPON - When you're cousins, so close in age and interests you may as well be brothers, you develop certain advantages in the athletic arena.
Good news first: Ripon and Ripon Christian's volleyball teams each get to host a match for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs.
Valley Oak League champion Iris Carrilo and Sierra's Haley Silva placed first and second in Division III girls, while the Manteca boys and Ripon Christian girls teams earned top-three finishes during the Sac-Joaquin Section Subsection Meet held at Frogtown this past Saturday.