The parity in the Valley Oak League has made for an exciting season for boys and girls basketball, but it also has several teams scrapping for postseason berths according to the first release of the Sac-Joaquin Section's playoff power ratings.
It's all about control for East Union High's girls basketball team these days.
TURLOCK - East Union High's varsity wrestling team brought just four competitors at Pitman High's 5th Annual Rumble in the Jungle Saturday, but all four produced noteworthy results.
CERES - A loss at Central Valley would have been disastrous to the East Union boys basketball team's postseason hopes, and they were a few big plays, from emerging junior Robert Vaughn, away from letting that happen.
Alison Telles scored 16 of her 21 points to highlight East Union's 50-28 sophomore girls basketball victory at rival Sierra Monday.
LATHROP – By the time Lathrop High's girls varsity basketball team found a handle on its Valley Oak League contest with Oakdale High, the Mustangs were in the midst of an 18-2 run and easily on their way to a 51-28 win over the Spartans Saturday.
HANFORD – A handful of area wrestlers made their way south to compete in the California Girls Wrestling Invitational at Hanford West High just outside of Fresno. The tournament is the final tune-up for the Sac-Joaquin Women's Masters Tournament taking place Feb. 5-6 in Stockton.
RIPON – Ripon High piqued the crowds' anxiety to maximum heights when Andy Bunting pulled the Indians to within three on a layup after a steal with 1:23 remaining, but that would be as close as crosstown host Ripon Christian would have it in its 52-47 Trans Valley League Friday.
A telling statistical category for Sierra High's boys basketball team this season is points allowed.
SONORA - Sonora torched undersized East Union in the post in its 81-67 win on Jan. 6.
The Sierra High boys sophomore basketball team entered the fourth quarter trailing by four points, but a dominant final period lifted the Timberwolves to a comfortable 59-51 Valley Oak League win over the visiting Ceres Bulldogs.
RIPON - It took 7 minutes, 34 seconds for Ripon High's girls basketball team to sink its first field goal Thursday - a jumper from the right elbow off the fingertips of Adrianna Mayberry.
Sierra High's football team reached unprecedented heights last fall and was rewarded for it.
Trailing by double digits going into halftime provided the Sonora Wildcats with all the motivation they would need, mounting a ferocious comeback only to fall to the host East Union Lancers 47-42 in Valley Oak League girls basketball play Thursday.
Brooke Riley shot an even-par 37 to lead East Union's 246-288 win over Manteca at Manteca Park Golf Course. Monday's win moves the Lancers to 5-0 in the Valley Oak League.
RIPON – After an explosive defensive Ripon Christian start left the visiting Orestimba Wildcats wearing roller-skates and its fleet-footed gunslinger struggling to breathe, the Southern League opener at Stouffer Field Friday night looked like an exercise in futility.
LATHROP - When the going got tough, Kristen Maestretti and the Sierra volleyball team got going Thursday in their Valley Oak League match at Lathrop.
East Union proved Thursday night that it can be a threat in the hunt for Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berths, dropping a well-contested four-game loss to visiting Kimball at Dalben Center.
Ripon High's boys water polo team is again short on numbers, and its top player has graduated after leading the program with his scoring prowess in its first four years of existence.
MARIPOSA - At 6-foot-5 with a super-stretch wingspan, Lukas Vermeulen cuts an imposing figure in the goal.
McKenna Doyle set the curve and the Sierra girls golf team followed suit in a 243-395 Valley Oak League victory over Weston Ranch.
Could a changing of the guard be in order in the Southern League?
STOCKTON - After a scoreless first half Weston Ranch hit two goals in a minute early in the second half and went on to a 3-1 Valley Oak League soccer win over visiting Lathrop.
East Union was 40 minutes away from securing a huge Valley Oak League victory on the road Wednesday against Oakdale.
Ripon ended its nonleague schedule strong, as it crushed visiting Tokay of Lodi 25-22, 25-14, 25-15 on Wednesday.
Brooke Riley carded a 1-under 36 on Manteca Park Golf Course's front nine to anchor East Union's tightly-contested 251-256 victory over visiting Kimball on Wednesday.
STOCKTON – One suffered a flat last week, stalling out in Modesto. The other has taken a while to warm up.
STOCKTON - There are close volleyball matches and then there was the Valley Oak League duel between visiting Manteca and Weston Ranch.
Manteca's girls tennis team ended the first round of Valley Oak League play with a pivotal 5-4 win at Oakdale despite missing two regular doubles players Tuesday.