The parity in the Valley Oak League has made for an exciting season for boys and girls basketball, but it also has several teams scrapping for postseason berths according to the first release of the Sac-Joaquin Section's playoff power ratings.
It's all about control for East Union High's girls basketball team these days.
TURLOCK - East Union High's varsity wrestling team brought just four competitors at Pitman High's 5th Annual Rumble in the Jungle Saturday, but all four produced noteworthy results.
CERES - A loss at Central Valley would have been disastrous to the East Union boys basketball team's postseason hopes, and they were a few big plays, from emerging junior Robert Vaughn, away from letting that happen.
Alison Telles scored 16 of her 21 points to highlight East Union's 50-28 sophomore girls basketball victory at rival Sierra Monday.
LATHROP – By the time Lathrop High's girls varsity basketball team found a handle on its Valley Oak League contest with Oakdale High, the Mustangs were in the midst of an 18-2 run and easily on their way to a 51-28 win over the Spartans Saturday.
HANFORD – A handful of area wrestlers made their way south to compete in the California Girls Wrestling Invitational at Hanford West High just outside of Fresno. The tournament is the final tune-up for the Sac-Joaquin Women's Masters Tournament taking place Feb. 5-6 in Stockton.
RIPON – Ripon High piqued the crowds' anxiety to maximum heights when Andy Bunting pulled the Indians to within three on a layup after a steal with 1:23 remaining, but that would be as close as crosstown host Ripon Christian would have it in its 52-47 Trans Valley League Friday.
A telling statistical category for Sierra High's boys basketball team this season is points allowed.
SONORA - Sonora torched undersized East Union in the post in its 81-67 win on Jan. 6.
The Sierra High boys sophomore basketball team entered the fourth quarter trailing by four points, but a dominant final period lifted the Timberwolves to a comfortable 59-51 Valley Oak League win over the visiting Ceres Bulldogs.
RIPON - It took 7 minutes, 34 seconds for Ripon High's girls basketball team to sink its first field goal Thursday - a jumper from the right elbow off the fingertips of Adrianna Mayberry.
Sierra High's football team reached unprecedented heights last fall and was rewarded for it.
Trailing by double digits going into halftime provided the Sonora Wildcats with all the motivation they would need, mounting a ferocious comeback only to fall to the host East Union Lancers 47-42 in Valley Oak League girls basketball play Thursday.
Kyle Alexander has dabbled in many sports but appears to have found one he can stick to for the rest of his life.
Weston Ranch broke open a tie game Wednesday night with a 13-0 run that started late in the first quarter against host East Union, and the Cougars were not threatened again in a 71-57 Valley Oak League win at Dalben Center.
Lathrop left little doubt in its 65-34 drubbing of visiting Oakdale on Wednesday night.
The future of girls Valley Oak League basketball was on display Tuesday night at Sierra High School with two sophomores accounting for 68 points in a thrilling 61-56 win for visiting East Union over the Timberwolves.
Weston Ranch's girls basketball team officially clinched a playoff berth for a sixth straight year Tuesday night with a 67-40 rout at Manteca, but the Cougars are looking to raise the bar for the program.
The Lathrop High girls basketball team doesn't have a playoff run to look forward to, but it isn't going out without a fight.
At this point last year and the 23 before that, coaches were busy crunching numbers to see where their teams could potentially land in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
It had been known for weeks that Ripon Christian was going to secure the outright Southern League championship without much resistance.
STOCKTON – Sierra jumped out to a quick but not-so comfortable lead thanks to three early forfeits Saturday during the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Team Dual Championships at Lincoln High.
STOCKTON – Weston Ranch senior Alyssa Cantu will be making her third straight trip to the state tournament.
STOCKTON - Weston Ranch was able to limit Manteca High center Michael Hatfield this time around, but the Cougars had no answer for the Buffaloes' two best guards.
Victoria Burke could likely make Sierra High history today.
Lathrop trailed by as much as 10 in the third quarter at Sonora but came back to squeak out a well-earned 64-58 victory Friday night.
LATHROP – Nick McGill came through in the clutch during Thursday's Valley Oak League finale between East Union and Lathrop.
Sierra was one of the tougher and more talented squads in the Valley Oak League this year.