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.
Olivia Vezaldenos broke out of a recent scoring slump Friday and led East Union to a 46-38 win over visiting Lathrop at Dalben Center.
LATHROP - It came down to the final two matches of the night in the Valley Oak League wrestling tilt between East Union and Lathrop, and the host Spartans got two pins and a 45-33 victory Thursday.
Marcus Montano and the Manteca boys basketball team couldn't make a shot in the first quarter.
Sierra can now center its focus on the big games to come after steamrolling Kimball 59-38 on Thursday.
Ripon coach George Contente tested his team with a rugged schedule in the first month of the season, and it paid off in the Indians' Trans-Valley League opener Thursday.
STOCKTON - Fred Lavender and the Weston Ranch Cougars proved to be tough match up Lathrop.
Jessica Pablo missed East Union's final six pre-league contests after rolling an ankle in a game at Sonora.
Ripon shot 9 for 25 on free throws and missed 10 of 12 attempts down the stretch in a heartbreaking 66-65 loss at Livingston on Wednesday.
LATHROP - The Brijanee Moore Era ended just as it was getting started for Weston Ranch.
Typically, coaches will use wind sprints as a way to grab their team's attention.
LATHROP - In a showcase of underclassmen on the rise, win-starved Lathrop went to a third-year senior in the closing seconds of its Valley Oak League contest with East Union on Tuesday.
Defense led to a balanced scoring effort for Weston Ranch's ill-stricken boys basketball team, which limited host Oakdale to single-digit scoring in every quarter and routed host Oakdale, 68-23.
Anand Hundal celebrated his 16th birthday in a big way.
Manteca High boys basketball coach Brett Lewis said there has been little interest from college coaches when it comes to Anand Hundal, a blossoming 6-foot-8 center whose game has grown leaps and bounds in the past year.
Ripon Christian rolls into Trans-Valley League with some positive momentum after its come-from-behind win at Atwater on Monday.