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.
LATHROP - It came down to the final two matches of the night in the Valley Oak League wrestling tilt between East Union and Lathrop, and the host Spartans got two pins and a 45-33 victory Thursday.
Marcus Montano and the Manteca boys basketball team couldn't make a shot in the first quarter.
Sierra can now center its focus on the big games to come after steamrolling Kimball 59-38 on Thursday.
Ripon coach George Contente tested his team with a rugged schedule in the first month of the season, and it paid off in the Indians' Trans-Valley League opener Thursday.
STOCKTON - Fred Lavender and the Weston Ranch Cougars proved to be tough match up Lathrop.
Jessica Pablo missed East Union's final six pre-league contests after rolling an ankle in a game at Sonora.
Ripon shot 9 for 25 on free throws and missed 10 of 12 attempts down the stretch in a heartbreaking 66-65 loss at Livingston on Wednesday.
LATHROP - The Brijanee Moore Era ended just as it was getting started for Weston Ranch.
Typically, coaches will use wind sprints as a way to grab their team's attention.
LATHROP - In a showcase of underclassmen on the rise, win-starved Lathrop went to a third-year senior in the closing seconds of its Valley Oak League contest with East Union on Tuesday.
Defense led to a balanced scoring effort for Weston Ranch's ill-stricken boys basketball team, which limited host Oakdale to single-digit scoring in every quarter and routed host Oakdale, 68-23.
Anand Hundal celebrated his 16th birthday in a big way.
Manteca High boys basketball coach Brett Lewis said there has been little interest from college coaches when it comes to Anand Hundal, a blossoming 6-foot-8 center whose game has grown leaps and bounds in the past year.
Ripon Christian rolls into Trans-Valley League with some positive momentum after its come-from-behind win at Atwater on Monday.
It's out with the old and in with the old in the Trans-Valley League.