SALIDA – With the absence of powerhouse forward Reeves Nelson – serving a one-game suspension for getting ejected from Tuesday's game against Ripon Ron Vander Nolen had a lot of reasons to think that his Ripon Christian Knights stood a chance at slaying undefeated Trans Valle League champion Modesto Christian.
It was all about business Wednesday night at Winter Gym where Manteca avenged its only Valley Oak League blemish of the season with a workman-like 59-52 win over Sonora.
The last time a Manteca High boys basketball team tore down the nets at Winter Gym, its current coaching staff was in grade school.
CERES - The playoffs seemed a certainty for Weston Ranch as recently as a week ago, but thanks to a shocking 47-40 loss to Ceres Wednesday night, it now appears that the Cougars will need a little help to qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III postseason.
Eric Godfrey scored 10 of his game-high 17 in the first quarter as the Manteca sophomore boys basketball team raced out to a 13-5 lead and cruised to a 52-45 win.
Two weeks ago, Manteca's boys basketball team hosted in-town adversary Sierra and won a 73-69 overtime thriller to take the outright lead in the race for the Valley Oak League championship.
Considering East Union claimed at least a share of its third-straight Valley Oak League championship with a 61-39 blowout of Oakdale Tuesday night, the senior night postgame atmosphere inside Dalben Center was surprisingly subdued.
SONORA – Sharon Washington continued her recent tear, scoring 22 points, and Davina Bennett added a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds, but costly turnovers down the stretch were too much for Manteca to overcome in a 54-46 loss to Sonora.
RIPON - Perhaps it wasn't an upset after all.
RIPON - The Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs don't tip off until next week, but the postseason has already begun for Ripon.
WESTON RANCH – The Lathrop High sophomore girls basketball team finished its first Valley Oak League season at 8-8 with a 39-27 win over Weston Ranch Monday night.
CERES – The plotlines were plentiful Saturday at Central Valley High, the site of this season's Valley Oak League wrestling championships.
HUGHSON - As all wrestling coaches know, timing is everything.
WESTON RANCH - It was a 32-minute passing-of-the-torch ceremony, but defending Valley Oak League champion Weston Ranch didn't give up that torch so easily.
Head coach Scott Thomason is hoping that his Sierra Timberwolves are beginning to round into shape for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs with a week left in the Valley Oak League season.
Ripon High girls golf coach Eric Dambrosio was encouraged by what he saw from his young team in Tuesday's Valley Foothill League North Division opener.
After giving up the lead in the fourth quarter Thursday, Sierra bounced back with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Caden Worth to Brandy James with 4:53 showing on the clock and held on for the 12-7 win over visiting Ripon in non-league freshman football action at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.
Weston Ranch successfully defended its Stagg Brown and Gold Cup crown on Saturday, securing the championship with a 2-0 win over the host team.
The Ripon and Sierra football teams will rekindle their rivalry in the marquee Zero Week game tonight.
LODI - Leagues are realigned.
Manteca and East Union are out for revenge, while Lathrop's second-year head coach returns to his hometown to lead the Spartans onto familiar grounds.
Brooke Riley stood shoulder to shoulder with a teammate, both staring down the third fairway at Manteca Park Golf Course.
LATHROP – Alfredo Reynaga hasn't wasted any time putting his stamp on the Lathrop High boys soccer program.
Weston Ranch isn't going to surprise anybody this year.
Ripon Christian has re-established itself as a force among Sac-Joaquin Section small-school powers following eight straight losing seasons.
The Ripon High boys soccer team didn't just lose the area's top player from a year ago.
Kevin Mendiola wheeled back with his right foot and took the ball off a bounce, sending it crashing into the back of the net.
An undefeated league record and a playoff win would be seen as successful for most teams. Ripon Christian did that in the 2013-2014 season, and for the Knights it was an off year.
In this her 10th year in the Sierra volleyball program, Timberwolves coach Trinity Johnson is looking to improve on last year's 1-13 Valley Oak League record – 3-19 overall – and she is not afraid to think outside the box to do it.
The Manteca Futbol Club Flash under-12 girls soccer team might not have a flashy Northern California ranking, but that could soon change.