The contenders will separate themselves from the pretenders this week in the Valley Oak, Trans Valley and Southern leagues.
ESCALON – Aidan Foster made the most of his participation in the 24th Annual Lloyd Engel Wrestling Tournament, closing as the 152-pound champion and being named the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler of the upper-weights Saturday at Escalon High.
Kimball High already has itself a boys basketball team to be reckoned with, and that's without a senior class.
In a game that saw quality offense displayed in brief spurts, East Union senior Robert Vaughn had to convert on a pair of free throws in the game's final minute and he made good, sending the Oakdale Mustangs home with a 44-41 Valley Oak League defeat Friday at Dalben Center.
The first quarter put the Manteca High boys basketball team in a good position to depart from Sonora with a Valley Oak League win, but their fast start would not last a 46-42 league loss Friday.
LATHROP - The Spartans gave it their all Friday against visiting Weston Ranch.
Justin Patton scored half of the Sierra High sophomore boys basketball team's 22 first-quarter points and ended up with a game-high19 points, helping the Timberwolves crush visiting Kimball 82-39 Friday.
Ripon High's boys basketball team didn't have too tough a challenge from the Hughson Huskies, and it showed in a 67-34 blowout Trans Valley League victory Friday in Ripon.
Without reigning Valley Oak League MVP Cassandra Clark and two other starters, Oakdale High's girls basketball team didn't have a chance against the conference's four-time defending champion.
Sharon Washington wanted this one badly and played like it.
So far, so good for Ripon Christian's girls basketball team.
Sarah Phillips got it going for East Union's varsity wrestling team with a hard-fought 9-7 victory in the 103-pound match, but it was all Weston Ranch after that in a Valley Oak League double-dual Wednesday at Dalben Center.
WESTON RANCH – In the opening minutes, it seemed like Lathrop High's girls basketball team was ready to take on the challenge of keeping pace with Weston Ranch, but as time wore on the Spartans were clearly in over their heads in a 75-47 Valley Oak League loss Thursday.
It has been quite some time since the Weston Ranch High sophomore girls basketball team have been on the short-end of a basketball game, and that fact didn't change Thursday when the Cougars remained perfect in Valley Oak League play with a 50-40 win over Lathrop High.
LATHROP – When the Oakdale Mustangs packed up their bags and made their way back towards Oakdale, Lathrop and Manteca highs entangled in a more competitive Valley Oak League match, yet the Spartans were the superior program in a 50-26 win Wednesday.
RIPON – Head coach Ed Mulder doesn't have the luxury of a Teagan Manus to steady and steer the Ripon Christian girls basketball team.
Ron Vander Molen expects the road to get rougher in the coming week, but for now he and the Ripon Christian boys basketball team are enjoying the ride.
East Union bounced back from its first loss of the season and will play for fifth place in the Tracy Breakfast Lions/Tom Hawkins Tournament today.
Ripon didn't have to wait long to exact revenge against Sierra, though both teams had to travel farther for the rematch.
Hunter Johnson led Sierra to a 59-37 quarterfinal win over Edison-Stockton to open the Adidas Trojan Christmas Classic boys basketball tournament Saturday at Lincoln High in Stockton.
For most of her first two years running for the Weston Ranch cross country team, sophomore Iris Carillo was chasing more seasoned and accomplished harriers from Manteca.
Tournament co-host Tracy managed two more points in the fourth quarter than East Union did and that was enough as the Bulldogs pulled out a 50-49 quarterfinal victory in the Tom Hawkins Girls Basketball Tournament on Saturday in front of a raucous crowd at Swenson Gym.
Ohio State is calling.
SALIDA – Jazz Swanson shuffled through the locker room, shoes untied with an aw-shucks smile painted across his face.
The winter break has been anything but a break for Lathrop High's wrestling program.
Rod Wright has been waiting for a game like this from his young Ripon boys basketball team.
East Union won one rematch to get to another, but it may have to go without its top player in tonight's Tracy Breakfast Lions/Tom Hawkins Tournament quarterfinal.
Annie Banks has been playing on a tennis team for as long as she can remember, long before her brush with the Sierra High girls program.
RIPON - Kristen Maestretti was rewarded for her effort.
For the better part of three quarters, the Turlock crowd did their best to unlock the mystery of Anand Hundal, Manteca's 6-foot-8 junior center.