The Valley Oak League race for the championship has begun.
SUMMERVILLE – Trailing by double digits after the first eight minutes of action did not rattle Ripon's focus, as it bounced back with a strong second quarter on its way to a 52-45 win over the Summerville Bears Friday.
The Sierra High sophomore boys basketball team won another tightly-contested struggle Friday, holding off visiting East Union 56-54 to remain undefeated in the opening week of the Valley Oak League season.
Different Manteca Buffaloes took turns carrying the load.
It's tough to dig up positives from a 40-32 loss, but Sierra High's girls basketball team gave coach Steve Unterholzner reason to remain upbeat Thursday following a thrilling start to the Valley Oak League season.
SONORA - The East Union Lancers traveled to Sonora and made the trip worthwhile with a 53-45 win over the Wildcats Thursday in Valley Oak League action.
Trailing by nearly double digits midway through the fourth, Sierra High's sophomore girls basketball team fired back to steal a 38-35 victory over visiting Ceres. It marked the first win of the season for the Timberwolves (1-1 Valley Oak League overall).
Everything appeared to be in place for the East Union Lancers as they traded shots with the visiting Sonora Wildcats Wednesday night at Dalben Center.
WESTON RANCH – The Valley Oak League wrestling season is off and running and the Weston Ranch Cougars have opened it with high expectations and higher production with a pair of convincing wins over visiting Central Valley and Manteca highs Wednesday.
CERES – Sierra High knows they are flying under the radar, but that doesn't mean the Timberwolves are not flying high after their 67-52 win over the Ceres Bulldogs keeps Sierra atop of the Valley Oak League standings after Wednesday's contests.
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.
STOCKTON – Weston Ranch and Lathrop could only combine for eight first-quarter points Thursday but the Cougars went on a roll the rest of the way and defeated the visiting Spartans 55-26 in Valley Oak League girls basketball action.
OAKDALE – It was about this time last year that Olivia Vezaldenos and the East Union girls basketball team began their playoff push.
HUGHSON – Ripon Christian kept its perfect Trans-Valley League record intact but may have lost a key player in the process.
LATHROP – Jaelen Ragsdale had his best performance in weeks on a night when Lathrop star Isaiah Ellis struggled just to stay on the court.
The Lathrop wrestling team swept its Valley Oak League double-dual meet with Weston Ranch and Kimball on Wednesday.
RIPON – Sean Broker burrowed down in the post, a tree standing tall above the Tribe. Austin Alger danced around the perimeter.
The Sierra High girls basketball team turned to its defense to snap a five-game losing streak.
RIPON – Physically, Ed Mulder knew Ellen Blankers would be fine following knee surgery in the spring.
RIPON – The Ripon Christian girls basketball team hasn't had much success this decade against its across-the-street neighbor.
RIPON – Rod Wright and his staff are in charge of the official book, access to the locker rooms and providing a game ball.
Ripon's Tristan Smith and Lathrop's Alex Garcia both finished fourth Saturday in the two-day Tim Brown Memorial Wrestling Tournament at the Jackson Sports Complex in McClellan.
Destiny Flores made two steals in the game's final 30 seconds Saturday to cap off a tremendous East Union comeback and help give the Lancers a thrilling 47-43 win over Ripon in the 5th Annual Hoops for the Cure Classic at Dalben Center.
Lathrop trimmed a 10-point second quarter deficit to three points with 55 seconds left to go in the first half Saturday but three quick Spartans turnovers led to a 12-point halftime lead for host Manteca in a 61-51 Valley Oak League boys basketball win for the Buffaloes at Winter Gymnasium.
Sierra proved up to the challenge in its Valley Oak League encounter with visiting Weston Ranch on Friday.
Manteca's Loretta Kakala could feel the anxiety building before the start of Friday's game.