SALIDA – With the absence of powerhouse forward Reeves Nelson – serving a one-game suspension for getting ejected from Tuesday's game against Ripon Ron Vander Nolen had a lot of reasons to think that his Ripon Christian Knights stood a chance at slaying undefeated Trans Valle League champion Modesto Christian.
It was all about business Wednesday night at Winter Gym where Manteca avenged its only Valley Oak League blemish of the season with a workman-like 59-52 win over Sonora.
The last time a Manteca High boys basketball team tore down the nets at Winter Gym, its current coaching staff was in grade school.
CERES - The playoffs seemed a certainty for Weston Ranch as recently as a week ago, but thanks to a shocking 47-40 loss to Ceres Wednesday night, it now appears that the Cougars will need a little help to qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III postseason.
Eric Godfrey scored 10 of his game-high 17 in the first quarter as the Manteca sophomore boys basketball team raced out to a 13-5 lead and cruised to a 52-45 win.
Two weeks ago, Manteca's boys basketball team hosted in-town adversary Sierra and won a 73-69 overtime thriller to take the outright lead in the race for the Valley Oak League championship.
Considering East Union claimed at least a share of its third-straight Valley Oak League championship with a 61-39 blowout of Oakdale Tuesday night, the senior night postgame atmosphere inside Dalben Center was surprisingly subdued.
SONORA – Sharon Washington continued her recent tear, scoring 22 points, and Davina Bennett added a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds, but costly turnovers down the stretch were too much for Manteca to overcome in a 54-46 loss to Sonora.
RIPON - Perhaps it wasn't an upset after all.
RIPON - The Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs don't tip off until next week, but the postseason has already begun for Ripon.
WESTON RANCH – The Lathrop High sophomore girls basketball team finished its first Valley Oak League season at 8-8 with a 39-27 win over Weston Ranch Monday night.
CERES – The plotlines were plentiful Saturday at Central Valley High, the site of this season's Valley Oak League wrestling championships.
HUGHSON - As all wrestling coaches know, timing is everything.
WESTON RANCH - It was a 32-minute passing-of-the-torch ceremony, but defending Valley Oak League champion Weston Ranch didn't give up that torch so easily.
Head coach Scott Thomason is hoping that his Sierra Timberwolves are beginning to round into shape for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs with a week left in the Valley Oak League season.
The Manteca High boys swim team outlasted host East Union 89-81 in a nip-and-tuck Valley Oak League meet Thursday.
Weston Ranch's Kent Balacy came through with a clutch victory over Sierra's Anthony Alcantar with all eyes on the final No. 6 singles match that would decide the winner.
Despite being faced with an eight-run deficit and just six more outs left to make something happen with on Wednesday, Manteca had no intentions of laying down against its cross-town rival East Union at the Northgate Softball Complex.
Ripon rallied for seven runs in the first two innings and never looked back in a 10-2 rout of host Riverbank on Tuesday.
The Sierra High boys track and field team are in line to capture its first Valley Oak League championship since 2011.
Desperate for a spark in the offensive third, Ripon coach Jamie DeBruyn has looked to a defender and a goalie for help as the Trans-Valley League race for three postseason berths heads down the final stretch.
If Tuesday's match with Kimball was a barometer for how good East Union can be this season, consider this:
Sierra competed with the heart of a lion Tuesday during a Valley Oak League showdown with Oakdale.
Donning pink jerseys, Manteca blanked Lathrop 3-0 in the annual Kicking for the Cure game hosted at Guss Schmiedt Field on Tuesday night.
RIPON - After blanking Ripon in their first meeting this season, Hughson pitcher Courtney Thornhill was working on eight consecutive shutout innings over the Indians when she turned her ankle in the first inning and had to leave Tuesday's Trans-Valley League softball contest.
East Union may be peaking at just the right time.
Both of Sierra's points were awarded thanks to pair of grueling victories from its No. 5 and No. 6 singles players in a 7-2 loss at East Union Tuesday.
Two big wins from the bottom half of its singles ladder propelled Manteca High's boys tennis team to a pivotal 6-3 win over visiting Sonora on Monday.
The area's two best offensive linemen along with two record-breaking skill position players have been selected to compete in the 41st Central California Lions All-Star Football Game.
Manteca and Oakdale both needed a win, so it's understandable why both were unsatisfied with Monday's result.