By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Section posts first power ratings
Crowded VOL girls race reflected in D-III rankings
Sharon Washington, left, and Shalane Jackson, representing rival schools Manteca and East Union, wrestle for possession during their Valley Oak League contest Jan. 20 at Dalben Center. - photo by HIME ROMERO
If the Sac-Joaquin Section girls basketball playoffs were to tip off today, the Valley Oak League would have three teams hosting first-round contests in the 16-team Division-III bracket.

Sonora, currently ranked 10th, represents the fourth VOL school seeded in the top 10. Meanwhile, Sierra is on the bubble at No. 19 and looms as a dangerous opponent for any of the conference’s four championship contenders as we enter the second round of conference play.

The section released its first of three playoff power ratings Monday, revealing an air-tight race in the VOL girls standings. Weston Ranch and Ripon Christian hold the highest seeds among area boys programs.

The section uses its power-rating system to determine playoff qualifiers and seedings. The top 16 rated teams in each of the five enrollment-based divisions advance. League records account for 70 percent of every team’s seeding rating, with non-league records making up the rest.

Non-league winning percentage, non-league opponents’ winning percentage and opponents’ school size determine a team’s non-league power rating. Non-league contests played after Jan. 7 are not counted.

The strength of every league in the section is predetermined and is used to help factor a team’s league power rating.

The section will post its next set of ratings on Feb. 7.

Manteca (7-1 VOL, 16-3 overall) leads the pack in the VOL girls race and sits in the No. 5 D-III playoff position. East Union (6-2, 14-5), which is responsible for Manteca’s only conference defeat, is seventh, and Weston Ranch (6-2, 12-7) eighth. Weston Ranch is buoyed by its non-league strength of schedule, which is rated the best among the Division-III schools.

Sierra (3-5, 11-8) is 0-5 against the conference’s Big 4, but two of those losses were well contested.

Sacramento High has a considerable lead as the division’s top team with a 7.354 rating to No. 2 El Dorado’s 6.418. Christian Brothers and public-school powerhouse Vanden round out the top four.

Nationally-regarded St. Mary’s of Stockton and Del Oro of Loomis represented half of the semifinalists in each of the past four postseasons, but both are now in Division II.

Ripon (6-1 Trans Valley League, 15-4) is seeded eighth despite its impressive record in the loaded Division IV pool headed by Colfax. Ripon Christian (7-1 Southern League, 14-4) is No. 5 in Division V.

Sacramento, Colfax and Bradshaw Christian, in fact, are the highest-rated teams for both boys and girls in Divisions III-V.

Sacramento is a huge favorite in the D-III boys bracket, where Weston Ranch (8-0, 17-2) is ranked fourth and Sierra (6-2, 15-5) eighth.

League rivals Sonora, East Union (4-4, 10-9) and Oakdale are 12th, 15th and 18th, respectively. Two-time defending VOL champion Manteca (4-4, 7-12) has a steel hill to climb from the No. 23 spot and may end up being a victim of its tough non-league schedule.

Ripon (6-1, 13-8) is sixth in Division IV after surviving the first half of its TVL schedule with only one loss, but No. 2 Modesto Christian, No. 10 Escalon and No. 11 Riverbank will threaten to knock the Indians further down the ladder in the second half.

Ripon Christian (8-0 SL, 15-5), the area’s lone section finalist in 2010, is second to Division-V leading Bradshaw Christian (4.467 to RC’s 4.257). Ripon Christian boasts the top non-league schedule strength in the bracket.