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.
TRACY – Sharon Washington had another phenomenal outing leading her Manteca Buffaloes to the consolation championship of the Tracy Breakfast Lions Tournament with a 50-40 win over Foothill High Wednesday.
SALIDA - Rod Wright isn't delusional.
BRENTWOOD – When Weston Ranch opened the first quarter with one of its worst offensive outputs of the season, recovering from its double-digit deficit proved impossible as the Cougars dropped its loser's bracket contest 74-48 to Clovis High in their 10th Annual West Coast Jamboree contest at Liberty High.
TRACY - The good news for East Union's girls basketball team is that it is still tied for first place in the Valley Oak League.
SALIDA - One day after notching its biggest win of the season, the Ripon boys basketball team appeared ready to ride that momentum after a quality first-quarter effort against Merced in a third-round consolation game of the Modesto Christian Holiday Hoops Classic Tuesday.
BRENTWOOD - The Weston Ranch Cougars got another strong effort from sophomore Jazmin Strane, who led a 47-43 victory over the Amador Valley Dons of Pleasanton Tuesday in second-round action of the 10th Annual West Coast Jamboree at Liberty High.
RIPON - Ripon Christian appears to have fully recovered from what head coach Kevin Tameling called "dead legs."
Ripon Christian head coach John De Visser was well aware that ace pitcher Connor McGovern was on his game Wednesday against visiting Denair.
It was a back-and-forth meet Wednesday between the Sierra and Kimball girls track and field teams, two early favorites for the Valley Oak League championship.
With some of its veterans a bit off their game Wednesday, Ripon looked to its newer players to step up against rival Ripon Christian in a nonleague match at Spring Creek Golf & Country Club.
Patience proved to be a virtue for host Sierra on Tuesday as the Timberwolves drew 11 walks in just four innings and defeated Kimball 13-3 in a mercy-rule victory in Valley Oak League baseball action before the rain rolled in.
After opening the Valley Oak League schedule with losses to two contending programs, Manteca High's swim teams picked up its first victories while braving the cold weather Tuesday in a double dual against visiting Lathrop and Weston Ranch.
The rain did little to slow Sierra's girls soccer team on Tueseday.
Six standouts representing the Manteca Futbol Club are being recognized for their talents off the pitch as well as on it.
The area's two best high school girls wrestlers competed against some of the best in the nation this past weekend and came away with All-America honors.
Sierra High senior Anna Cardenas is one of 51 student-athletes to be awarded a scholarship by the Sac-Joaquin Section.
Ripon's boys and girls swim teams won all but two races at East Union on Friday, but the host Lancers were able to make things interesting with their superior depth.
STOCKTON - Allie Walljasper struck out 14 in six innings, Julie Deanda and Maddie Penner each rapped two-run hits and Devi Coglio legged out a home run in Sierra's 8-0 win at Weston Ranch on Friday.
Manteca has finally broken though against Kimball, already a Valley Oak League powerhouse in just its fourth season as a varsity club.
Through the years, the Ripon-Hilmar girls soccer rivalry has been the stuff of legend – tug-o-wars for league championships and dramatic playoff matches.
Ripon won four out of the five doubles matches at Riverbank and returned home with a 5-4 victory and their perfect Trans-Valley League record still intact.