When the Weston Ranch girls basketball team beat Sierra High to close out the Valley Oak League a year ago, the Cougars were hoping a postseason berth would be around the corner, but that berth never came.
After a quick walkthrough of Woodward Park in Fresno, the annual site of the CIF State Cross Country Championships, Ripon High head coach Paul Calkins and his runners settled into their hotel rooms at around 5:30 Friday night for a little rest and relaxation.
Just a short time ago, the Weston Ranch boys basketball squad was the premier team in the Valley Oak League, and the Lathrop Spartans were opening the gym for the hoops program for the very first time. After failing to reach the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs, the Cougars are poised to get back to the top of the league, whereas as Lathrop will be working through the exodus of one of its better players.
To be the champs, Ripon Christian's volleyball team must go through the champs.
Manteca and Sierra believe they have what it takes to make a run at the Valley Oak League championship this year.
Earning back-to-back outright championships in the Valley Oak League didn't come easily for Manteca High, and that was with dazzling point guard Kiwi Gardner setting gym floors ablaze.
The setters of the top teams in the Trans Valley and Southern leagues were voted the Most Valuable Players of each conference.
RIPON - The Knights didn't want to be one and done in this year's CIF State Northern California Division V volleyball championship tournament.
RIPON - It's an overused cliché, but the Ripon-St. Helena first-round match in the CIF State Northern California Division IV Championships Tuesday was truly played out like a heavyweight title bout.
In some ways, Ripon High volleyball coach Larry Keethe sees his team as an underdog despite its No. 1 ranking in the CIF Division IV State Championships, which begins today with Round 1 of the NorCal playoffs.
The Valley Oak League season saw the Sonora Wildcats and Oakdale Mustangs have their way along the schedule, but standout play from the other squads didn't go unrecognized, as the VOL's 2010 all-league team was recently announced.
The additions of Hilmar and Orestimba made the Trans Valley League even tougher Ripon High this year, and that was reflected in the all-conference selections.
DAVIS - The streak came to a halt for Ripon High varsity volleyball team.
DAVIS - They proudly held up four fingers.
One streak could continue, while another could come to an end.
Manteca led for the first 30 minutes of its Ron Peterson Tipoff Tournament semifinal against Calaveras at Riverbank High, but a poor shooting night ultimately doomed the Buffaloes in a 44-42 loss Friday.
First-year Lathrop boys soccer coach Alfredo Reynaga didn't need to look far for a program to model his after.
STOCKTON - Hunter Johnson and Josh Patton accounted for 36 points and 28 rebounds to lead Sierra to a 69-54 win over host McNair in non-league boys basketball action.
LATHROP - George Contente isn't fooling anyone.
Manteca put its talent and inexperience on display against Ron Peterson Tipoff Tournament host Riverbank on Thursday.
If Sierra coach Martha Spivey learned one thing about her team through its first two games of the 2014-15 season, it's that it will fight until the final buzzer.
The only thing that could slow Sierra's roll on tuesday was the running clock in its season opener against visiting Golden Valley of Merced.
RIPON - After trailing by 11 at the end of the first quarter, Ripon battled back to within a point late in the third period but then watched Livermore go on a 15-2 run to pull away in a 50-32 win for the visiting Cowboys in non-league girls basketball action on Tuesday.
RIPON - For a game that Manteca High coach Brett Lewis called a "glorified scrimmage," it sure didn't play out like one Monday night at Ripon.
RIPON - The East Union defense was suffocating Monday night, forcing host Ripon Christian to turn the ball over 31 times in a 53-25 Lancers win in a Sac-Joaquin Section Foundation basketball game. This is the 13th year for the Foundation games which provide funding for the Section's A. Dale Lacky Scholarship program. This year, 152 games were played at 81 different sites in the section with the results not counting in the teams' records. Lathrop visited Golden Valley, while Weston Ranch took on Lincoln in doubleheaders. The Sierra girls hosted Sonora.
A trio of seniors and a sophomore represent Ripon High's volleyball team on the All-Trans-Valley League team.