OAKDALE – The Sierra Timberwolves knew they were fighting an uphill battle, but they had no idea their Valley Oak League opener would end with a 51-21 and a 64-9 loss to Ceres and Oakdale highs Wednesday.
CERES – Sierra High trailed the Ceres Bulldogs by four heading into the intermission, but a blistering hot third quarter provided the Timberwolves with all the separation they would need in their 59-53 win over the host Bulldogs.
Manteca High's defending Valley Oak League champion boys basketball team began its title defense against visiting Oakdale Tuesday and had little trouble in dispatching the overmatched Mustangs, 55-42.
If there was a perfect way for the three-time defending Valley Oak League champions to tip off their regular season, the Ceres Bulldogs would likely say they witnessed that performance in the East Union Lancers' 52-29 win.
RIPON - Despite holding a five-point lead at halftime, Ripon High watched its lead over Linden dwindle down to a single point midway through the third quarter.
It was not the Sierra Timberwolves' best effort, but it was good enough to push them to a 1-0 mark in Valley Oak League play with a 47-36 home win over the Sonora Wildcats.
OAKDALE - The Manteca Buffaloes held a slim 24-17 halftime lead and never relinquished it during a 45-34 Valley Oak League opening win over the Oakdale Mustangs Tuesday.
Joseph Berry led three scorers in double figures with 14 points, and the Sierra High sophomore boys basketball team repelled the relentless Sonora Wildcats for a 48-47 home win to open the Valley Oak League season.
Manteca High junior Kiwi Gardner could miss a handful of games or forfeit the rest of his athletic eligibility depending on Sac-Joaquin Section sanctions. He will likely not play in tonight's Valley Oak League opener with visiting Oakdale.
Manteca High's boys basketball team opens Valley Oak League play tonight against visiting Oakdale with a pedestrian 7-4 preseason mark, but do not be deceived into believing the Buffaloes are an average squad.
Entering a season with at least a portion of the past three Valley Oak League championships, and four of the past five, would usually make the defending champs the odds-on-favorite to close the season with another one. But the dominance the East Union Lancers have held over their VOL counterparts will hold little merit as the league season gets underway Tuesday for the nine VOL girls basketball programs.
The perception around these parts is that Manteca rules the high school football scene, Sierra reigns in soccer and the softball crown rests on the heads of the Lancers of East Union.
History was made. Dreams were realized. Others were crushed.
WALNUT CREEK - Sierra High's wrestling team brought just 11 athletes to the Bill Martell Tournament Wednesday, but that was enough for it to leave its mark in its final tune-up for the Valley Oak League season.
Tournament host Ripon made a run in the third quarter and would not close the gap in losing to Cosumnes Oaks 58-42 in the championship game of the girls Ripon Winter Classic on Saturday.
Ripon finished tied for sixth place with Buhach Colony on Saturday in the 22-team field of the Morning Star Invitational at Los Banos High School.
After two big swings in the second half Saturday tournament host Ripon managed a layup with a minute left and held on over Bret Harte 63-62 for the championship of the boys Ripon winter Classic.
Weston Ranch is heading to the championship game in one of the Central Section's most prestigious tournaments.
Cody Norman is back with his alma mater, coaching the Laguna Creek girls basketball team in Elk Grove.
Livingston buried three 3-pointers to lead 9-0 at the start of its nonleague game at Manteca High's Winter Gymnasium Friday night.
RIPON - Ripon Christian may no longer be in the Southern League for basketball, but its growing rivalry with Mariposa lives on.
TRACY - Ryan Tarr had seen enough.
TRACY - With four reserves checking in at the scorer's table, Lathrop coach Nathan McGrath left them with one simple message:
Unhappy with his team's defensive effort in its last outing, Manteca coach Brett Lewis challenged the Buffaloes tighten things up for their first-round contest with Merced in the Running with the Pack Tournament held at Cosumnes Oaks of Elk Grove on Thursday.
East Union withstood a tremendous rally by visiting Ripon in the final minute, but the Indians couldn't take advantage of the extra chances created by five rebounds.
FRESNO – Jaelen Ragsdale scored 25 points to lead four players in double figures as the Weston Ranch boys basketball team cruised to victory in the opening round of the Holiday Invitational Tournament.
East Union blew out its first four opponents by 20 or more points, including a 53-25 shelling of Ripon Christian in a Foundation Game.
In time, the Manteca High basketball team may compete with the big boys of the Sac-Joaquin Section.
Devin Nunez knows how to slam a door.