Even though blue-chip prospect Josiah Turner, a 6-foot-3 point guard bound for Arizona, was dismissed by the team last month, Sacramento High may still be favored to defend its Division-III crown in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
With five teams qualifying and three Manteca Unified schools hosting a first-round game, the Valley Oak League is well-represented in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III girls basketball playoffs - so far.
Good news first: Sierra High's two losses to end the Valley Oak League girls basketball season last week had no effect on its postseason chances.
EL DORADO HILLS – Closing the Sac-Joaquin Section Divisional Wrestling tournaments with a berth into the SJS Masters meet was the primary goal, but Weston Ranch's Donnell Simms was able to take it a step further by winning the 189-pound championship on his way to the Masters.
Weston Ranch's boys basketball team was expected to contend for the Valley Oak League title this season, even with three sophomores in the starting lineup.
One team was trying to close out a frustrating season with one last quality effort.
LATHROP - J.J. Ramirez wants a commitment from his Lathrop High boys varsity basketball team.
The Ripon Indians opened the contest with a blistering start and never lost track, blasting Orestimba High 88-57 to close out the Trans Valley League boys basketball season Friday.
With the Valley Oak League championship already annexed by Manteca High's girls basketball team, the buzz surrounding its anticipated regular-season showdown with rival East Union took a little bit of a hit.
WESTON RANCH - With Sac-Joaquin Section postseason positioning at stake, intensity was not a problem for Weston Ranch and Sierra's girls basketball teams Thursday in their Valley Oak League finale.
RIPON - Thursday might have been senior night for the Ripon High girls basketball team, but it was a sophomore guard who came in off the bench and made the biggest impact in the Indians' last Trans Valley League game.
Winning felt so good for Lathrop High's girls basketball team after Tuesday's victory that the Spartans decided to do it again, putting together a fourth-quarter comeback to sting the Kimball 46-36 in both clubs' Valley Oak League finale.
Eddie Andrade is a young man of few words.
WESTON RANCH - As predicted, the East Union High boys varsity basketball game at Weston Ranch Wednesday was an up-and-down, high-scoring affair.
Lathrop High's varsity boys basketball team has one last chance to notch its first-ever Valley Oak League victory.
Ripon High's coed tennis team secured its first outright league title since 1987 with Tuesday's 8-1 victory over Modesto Christian.
Ripon - Zaire Davis and Jordyn Wall had one goal in mind since their freshman year of bringing the Trans Valley League title back to the Ripon High girls' soccer program.
After losing six key seniors to graduation from its Sac-Joaquin Section Division VII championship team, Ripon Christian has had to retool around impressive underclassman Abby Buitrago to make another run at it.
Isela Rivera is returning to the Central Valley with hopes of guiding another promising soccer program to new heights.
Disappointment weighed on the mind of Christian Guzman as he walked off the 18th green at Saddle Creek Golf Club.
Three times Oakdale came up with rally-killing double plays and held off host Sierra 8-3 to stay a game behind East Union in the Valley Oak League.
It was a bittersweet day for Manteca High's track and field team, which travelled to Kimball for a pivotal Valley Oak League dual meet on Tuesday.
At times, Ilena Rivera and the East Union girls soccer team make the goals, the sliding saves and the overwhelming victories look, well ...
By JAMES BURNS
Ripon Christian's coed tennis team had a chance to clinch a second straight Southern League title outright on Monday but dropped its rubber match with Denair 6-3 at the Ripon Community Center courts.
Sophomore Jocelyn Reyes had a goal and an assist to help Manteca High's girls soccer team dispatch host Central Catholic 2-1 and secure the No. 2 spot in the Valley Oak League.
Victor Polanco won't even touch the question.
Manteca High's boys and girls swim teams both finish the year 4-4 in the Valley Oak League with wins in their regular-season finale Friday at East Union.
Errors and lost opportunities came back to haunt Sierra in its first-place showdown with Oakdale on Friday.
After two decades with the program, Ron Vander Molen is no longer the boys varsity basketball coach at Ripon Christian.