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.
RIPON -Hilmar had the look of a team that had been there, done that in tight situations.
Weston Ranch clinched a second straight postseason berth with Monday's resounding 7-1 victory at Lathrop.
That stunning loss to Orestimba appears to be in the rear-view mirror for Ripon Christian.
Ripon hadn't played a match away from familiar Stouffer Field in nearly three full weeks until it traveled to Hilmar on Thursday.
Ripon avenged a previous loss and put itself in a good position to return to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V Tournament with Thursday's 164-174 win over Linden at Jack Tone Golf Course.
The Southern League race has quietly developed into an intriguing one.
Pay no mind to Lathrop's record.
Ripon Christian visited Delhi on Tuesday and avenged its only Southern League loss with a 1-0 victory that keeps the Knights atop the standings.
Ripon overcame serving errors and a game Hughson squad in a Trans-Valley League road match Wednesday.
The Manteca Jr. Timberwolves' novice football team rode the legs of Elijah Cota in Saturday's overtime 25-19 victory over their cross-town rival Chargers.
Escalon got one step closer to clinching the Valley Foothill League's North Division championship Tuesday after beating second-place Ripon 160-175 at Escalon Golf Course.
Weston Ranch beat East Union at its own game in a duel between the Valley Oak League's hottest teams Monday at Dino Cunial Field.
Coming off a tough five-game loss to rival Escalon, Ripon bounced back nicely with Monday's 25-13, 25-10, 25-23 sweep at Modesto Christian.
East Union's Edmi Lopez is a Timberwolf slayer.
Ripon Christian's boys soccer team overcame a halftime deficit, and Andrew Manes nailed the go-ahead goal in the 72nd minute to knock off host Le Grand 2-1 on Thursday.