MODESTO - With his face still covered in sweat and the bruises on his body still fresh, Pitman High senior wrestler Andrew Perez made an announcement just outside of the Gregori High gym, where this season's Sac-Joaquin Section Division I South Championships took place on Saturday.
MODESTO - Once he took off his trademark hat and his warm-ups, it didn't take very long for Turlock High senior wrestler Fabian Garcia to be crowned a three-time champion at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I South Championships on Saturday night.
Anthony Hubbard got the ball on the left wing, right in front of the Turlock High boys basketball team bench. He was about to take a shot he and his team aren't known for, all while in front of another packed Bulldog Arena crowd for Friday night's crosstown rivalry game against Pitman High.
The most important thing the Turlock High girls basketball team wanted from Thursday night's crosstown rivalry game against Pitman High was to not give in and settle. An outright Central California Conference title was on the line for the Bulldogs, who did not want anything less.
MERCED - To say the least, they were ready for this moment.
HILMAR - In order to make the playoffs for the third consecutive time, all the Hilmar High boys basketball team had to do was stop an Escalon High team that had beaten the Yellowjackets earlier in the season by double-digits.
With the third and final release of the Sac-Joaquin Section Basketball Power Ratings, the age-old sports mantra that "every game counts" is a hard-nosed reality for both Pitman High and Turlock High girls basketball teams.
Every time he's inside his school's wrestling room, Turlock High senior Fabian Garcia will look at the blue banner placed high on one of the walls. All the names of the program's past state medalists share a spot on the sign in yellow letters, with the champions distinguished in white.
At the start of the wrestling season, Denair High coach Don Helnore hoped to have champions at the Southern League Tournament, especially because the Coyotes were scheduled to host the postseason event. He had a couple wrestlers in mind who could possibly achieve the honor.
Coach Dave Exline and his Hilmar High wrestling team had a simple plan: Get as many wrestlers qualified as possible.
ATWATER - This year's Central California Conference wrestling championships had a festive vibe. Some wrestlers dyed their hair blonde to perhaps highlight team camaraderie, as well as the start of the postseason. Another wrestler was spotted wearing pink socks.
In the conference room at Turlock High's main office, athletic director Anthony Belew had to speak his mind to Josue Barajas, who signed his national letter of intent to play for Cal State Stanislaus men's soccer on Friday morning.
Before her team even began league play, Turlock High girls basketball coach Salinda Mabie said the Bulldogs' undefeated streak in the Central California Conference was in jeopardy. It was a bold statement, but also a logical one.
At last weekend's Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament for girls wrestling, several of the coaches and wrestlers at the event stopped and watched Turlock High junior Alexia Moreno in action. It's unusual for anyone to get this kind of superstar treatment, but people in the high school wrestling community seem to think she's different.
Held at Fitzpatrick Arena on the Cal State Stanislaus campus, the annual Denair-Turlock Christian basketball rivalry and homecoming games attracted hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of fans on Friday night. Those in attendance got to see the Turlock Christian girls team, thanks to a game-high 18 points from Kaisa Spycher and 38-6 halftime lead, beat the Denair girls 57-15. On the boys side, Clayton McDonald posted a rare triple-double (19 points, 10 rebounds and 11 steals) to lead Denair to a 72-54 win over the TC boys.
The Pride of Pitman came into their second game of the 38th annual Frank Godinez tournament against Laguna Creek - which had to forfeit their first round game due to Thursday's storm -with hopes of turning things around after a crushing first round loss to Beyer High.
Another solid effort from Turlock High on the court has landed the Bulldogs in the finals of the Frank Godinez Boys Basketball Tournament for the third year in a row.
Things are finally shaping up for Denair High boys basketball coach RJ Henderson, with the help of assistant head coach Garett Elliott and the commitment from this year's team.
With football being such a rich and successful tradition at Hilmar High, it seems like the basketball program takes the back seat - especially after coming away with only one winning season since 2007.
Pitman High volleyball has been synonymous with dominance in 2014. The Pride steamrolled nearly every opponent they faced this season with its combination of size, power and speed. And when a team rose to the occasion to provide Pitman with a challenge, its girls seemed to persevere through sheer force of will.
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