Friday's Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoff opener between No. 8 Manteca and No. 9 Casa Roble at Guss Schmiedt Field didn't start out to be the game it was anticipated to be.
It was business as usual Friday for Sierra High.
TUOLOMNE - They call it the great equalizer.
DAVIS - Ripon Christian had not lost a postseason game, let alone a match, leading up to its Sac-Joaquin Section Division V championship-round meeting against top-seeded Bradshaw Christian.
DAVIS - Ripon has proven time and again that it can beat Christian Brothers.
Eric Reis is a fan of the Sac-Joaquin Section's new playoff format.
Sierra will venture into familiar territory Friday when the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs kick off but will wear an unfamiliar target on its back.
Back in September it seemed like a nine-point loss to a middle-of-the-pack Trans Valley League team, now Ripon High's 32-23 win over the Summerville Bears glares as the only blemish on an otherwise perfect Summerville season.
Area goal leader Braian Gomez was one of five Sierra Timberwolves named to the all-Valley Oak League first team.
Neither squad has anything to prove.
A strong showing on the 2009 season lifted Sierra High into the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III Volleyball Championships and some of the squads' top individual performers were recognized.
RIPON - Just getting to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV girls volleyball championship at UC Davis Thursday would have thrilled the seventh-seeded Summerville Bears, but the berth merely seemed like business as usual for No. 3 in its 3-0 sweep over the visiting Mother Lode League champions.
AUBURN - Ripon Christian is back in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V title match for the third straight year with a chance to win a third straight title.
For the fourth straight season, in-town rivals Ripon and Ripon Christian are in the Sac-Joaquin Section's final-four round.
Lathrop couldn't overcome a lackluster start in a 61-44 loss to visiting Kimball on Friday.
Jim Agostini sauntered back into Winter Gymnasium alongside assistant coach Rick Marsh, and as the door closed behind them their East Union girls basketball team could be heard celebrating a much-needed 58-48 win over Manteca on Thursday.
RIPON - This night belonged to the Ripon High Indians.
Elisabeth Alexander found her stroke early and never lost it.
Sierra has a way of making ugly wins look good.
Rena Dragony emerged from a scrum beneath the basket with a smile and her pinkies pointed to the sky.
Sophomore guard Tre Simmons made five 3s and led all scorers with 23 points, as playoff-bound Weston Ranch rolled past visiting East Union 70-30 Wednesday.
With about six minutes left in the third quarter, Jim Agostini called a timeout and did something he rarely ever does.
STOCKTON - What a difference 10 minutes can make.
Riverbank worked its late-game magic yet again, and it helped the Bruins garner at least a share of the Trans-Valley League title Tuesday when they edged Ripon in overtime, 44-43.
RIPON - In a Trans-Valley League tilt between two guard-oriented teams, it was the two "bigs" who made all the difference for Ripon on Tuesday.
Tonight, Manteca High will play for much more than a share of first place in the Valley Oak League.
Lathrop High's Alex Garcia and Tristan Smith of Ripon are both rated No. 3 in their respective weight classes, according to The California Wrestler's Sac-Joaquin Section rankings.
Aysia Cortez of Venture/Excel Academy won the 126-pound championship Saturday in the Sac-Joaquin Section Girls Wrestling Regional Invitational at McNair High in a thrilling 13-11 overtime match with Miranda Lamela of Pacheco-Los Banos.
Ripon High defeated visiting Modesto High on Saturday 35-20 in non-league girls' basketball action.