Girls Basketball: Jaguars, Bulldogs off to strong start in playoff race
by Bob Brownne
Jan 11, 2013 | 2840 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Kimball High Jaguars are off to the strongest start among the local girls teams that have a chance to lead their league this year.

Tracy High’s girls are also in a position to make an impression in their league.

Valley Oak League

Kimball’s girls started their league season with three straight wins. If they can get a fourth at home Friday, Jan. 11, against defending VOL champion Manteca, the Jaguars (12-4, 3-0 VOL) will have a solid hold on first place in the league.

Kimball coach Mike Granillo said that Manteca, also undefeated in the VOL, could be the strongest competition in an already strong league. The Jaguars already got a key win over Sierra, and Weston Ranch, which Kimball faces on Jan. 22, could also turn out to be a contender.



San Joaquin Athletic Association

With a third place finish last year the Bulldogs were still denied a trip to playoffs. This year, they need just five more wins to get in.

Tracy coach Derek Solano said that that Bulldogs (10-7, 1-0 SJAA) are capable of at least that much.

“That’s their goal, but I tell the girls, that’s the minimum, but don’t stop there,” he said.

In order to make some noise in the SJAA, the Bulldogs will have to beat Lincoln, the defending league champion, in Stockton on Tuesday, Jan. 15.



Tri-City Athletic League

The battle for dominance in the TCAL is between defending champion St. Mary’s and runner-up McNair, which also faced off in the SJS Division II final last year.

But West (9-9, 1-0 TCAL) can still be a force in the league. The Wolf Pack beat Stagg and Tokay in pre-league play, but lost to Edison.

West coach Joe Hernandez said that Edison is fast up and down the court, and his team is preparing for a rematch on Thursday, Jan. 17, in Stockton.

“We should be able to compete with them,” Hernandez said. “We’ve seen them, so it’s a matter of playing smart and playing hard.”



Mountain Valley League

The Delta Charter girls (2-6, 2-0 MVL) have a couple wins in their new gym, a mark of progress as they start their second MVL season.

Dragons coach Chris Thornton said his team now prepares to face the league leader, defending champion Venture Academy, in Stockton on Monday, Jan. 14. Lodi Academy is also good.

“The girls are getting tougher and are more conditioned now that we have a full gym,” he said. “I think that’s a huge part of it.”



Central California Athletic Alliance

Millennium coach Michael Zuniga said the league opener on Friday, Jan. 11, at Elliot Christian in Lodi will show how the Falcons (6-7) will measure up in the CCAA.

“That one I think is going to be more or less even. Our skill level is compatible with their skill level,” he said.

Defending CCAA champion Brookside Christian, is also the SJS Division V champion and CIF Division V state champion. Big Valley Christian of Modesto is also off to a good start.

Zuniga said that he just expects his players to stay competitive.

“So far with this year they’ve been improving with every single game,” he said.

• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or brownne@tracypress.com.
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