If there was a perfect way for the three-time defending Valley Oak League champions to tip off their regular season, the Ceres Bulldogs would likely say they witnessed that performance in the East Union Lancers' 52-29 win.
RIPON - Despite holding a five-point lead at halftime, Ripon High watched its lead over Linden dwindle down to a single point midway through the third quarter.
It was not the Sierra Timberwolves' best effort, but it was good enough to push them to a 1-0 mark in Valley Oak League play with a 47-36 home win over the Sonora Wildcats.
OAKDALE - The Manteca Buffaloes held a slim 24-17 halftime lead and never relinquished it during a 45-34 Valley Oak League opening win over the Oakdale Mustangs Tuesday.
Joseph Berry led three scorers in double figures with 14 points, and the Sierra High sophomore boys basketball team repelled the relentless Sonora Wildcats for a 48-47 home win to open the Valley Oak League season.
Manteca High junior Kiwi Gardner could miss a handful of games or forfeit the rest of his athletic eligibility depending on Sac-Joaquin Section sanctions. He will likely not play in tonight's Valley Oak League opener with visiting Oakdale.
Manteca High's boys basketball team opens Valley Oak League play tonight against visiting Oakdale with a pedestrian 7-4 preseason mark, but do not be deceived into believing the Buffaloes are an average squad.
Entering a season with at least a portion of the past three Valley Oak League championships, and four of the past five, would usually make the defending champs the odds-on-favorite to close the season with another one. But the dominance the East Union Lancers have held over their VOL counterparts will hold little merit as the league season gets underway Tuesday for the nine VOL girls basketball programs.
The perception around these parts is that Manteca rules the high school football scene, Sierra reigns in soccer and the softball crown rests on the heads of the Lancers of East Union.
History was made. Dreams were realized. Others were crushed.
WALNUT CREEK - Sierra High's wrestling team brought just 11 athletes to the Bill Martell Tournament Wednesday, but that was enough for it to leave its mark in its final tune-up for the Valley Oak League season.
The 5th Annual Lady Lancer Tournament at East Union High Wednesday lasted just 4 ½ hours.
SONORA – Sierra High will open up the 2010 Valley Oak League season with a visit from the Sonora Wildcats, so the Timberwolves' 52-47 win in the third-place game of the Dominick Fuchs Classic helped Sierra close out the preseason in the best possible way.
RIPON – When the Oakdale Mustangs turned up their full-court pressure, Ripon Christian was unable to conquer the challenge, falling to the Mustangs 47-32 in the championship of the Lady Knights Classic Wednesday at Ripon Christian.
Central Catholic remains in the driver's seat for the Valley Oak League championship after the conference's newest member knocked off defending titlist Manteca 6-3 for a second time this season.
LATHROP - With just two goals scored in the game's first 60 minutes, Manteca and Lathrop combined for three in a five-minute span in Wednesday's Valley Oak League contest at Bennie Gatto Field.
Ripon was undaunted by its first Trans-Valley League assignment Wednesday.
Weston Ranch coach Francisco Cisneros could sense the frustration mounting from his Cougars in the first half of their Valley Oak League match at Oakdale on wednesday.
Brooke Riley capped off an impressive week Wednesday, shooting 5-under-par 31 on the links-style front nine at Tracy's Old River Golf Course, as East Union continued its Valley Oak League title defense with a 205-225 win against host Kimball.
Taylor Bays can serve. And she can dig, too.
RIPON - Nothing is coming easy in what is shaping up to be a competitive Southern League boys soccer season.
East Union kept host Weston Ranch on its heels thanks to big serving runs from Jordyn Posz and Destiny Flores.
The weather is expected to cooperate for today's Valley Oak League rematch between Manteca and Central Catholic, which was originally postponed because of rain last Thursday.
Brooke Riley's round didn't end as well as she had hoped during East Union's Valley Oak League dual match at Oakdale Golf and Country Club on Tuesday.
Scoring was at a premium Saturday when the Manteca Jr. Timberwolves junior novice squad locked up with the Tracy Jr. Bulldogs, who prevailed 6-0 in Delta Youth Football League action.
STOCKTON - The blond streak in Esteban Paramo's hair may have started as a personal statement of style, but it's come to symbolize something much bigger.
Sierra played perfect defense from the second minute to the 78th Monday against visiting East Union.
Brooke Riley shot an even-par 37 to lead East Union's 246-288 win over Manteca at Manteca Park Golf Course. Monday's win moves the Lancers to 5-0 in the Valley Oak League.
RIPON – After an explosive defensive Ripon Christian start left the visiting Orestimba Wildcats wearing roller-skates and its fleet-footed gunslinger struggling to breathe, the Southern League opener at Stouffer Field Friday night looked like an exercise in futility.