If Monday’s first release of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III power ratings proved anything, it’s this — mediocrity will get you nowhere.
Oakdale High’s varsity boys basketball team is currently No. 18 on the power ratings after a 3-4 stint through the first half of Valley Oak League play and a second-half opening win over Kimball on Friday.
To reach the top-16 of the D-III ratings and secure its first playoff game since 2003, Oakdale will have to avenge first half losses and beat the likes of No. 15 East Union and No. 23 Manteca, along with repeating a sharp win at No. 12 Sonora, who has yet to lose a league home game.
Oakdale (3.562 rating) is painstakingly close to No. 16 Whitney (3.597), but will need some big wins, coupled with the luck of higher seeded teams losing to break into the D-III bracket.
It’s a tough year to make playoffs, as six VOL teams are in the hunt for a playoff seed among a list that contains members of 10 different leagues (six of them with higher league strength ratings than the VOL).
Oakdale put in some work just to stay in the top 20 with wins over both Lathrop and Kimball last week. Lathrop, seeded No. 32 in D-IV, nearly shocked Oakdale for their first league win of the year, but Oakdale rallied late to overcome a 10-point fourth quarter deficit and topped the Spartans by a 51-44 score. Vince Thompson scored 14 points in the win.
Oakdale rebounded with a solid 57-36 rout of Kimball during Homecoming festivities on Friday. The Mustangs trailed 8-4 to open the game, but landed a 17-10 lead after a quarter and a 28-19 advantage at the half.
Manny Hernandez drained a big three pointer in each half and scored seven points in the final two periods to finish with 12. Vince Thompson (two treys) scored 12 points as well. Nathan Van Ryn added seven points while Justin Martinez and Blake Thompson chipped in six each.
Oakdale (13-6 overall, 4-4 VOL) has a difficult match at undefeated stalwart Weston Ranch (No. 4) today, Feb. 2, at 7:30 p.m. The Mustangs host East Union in a must-win contest on Friday.
Josh Watts drained back-to-back free throws in the final moments and rallied back to play spectacular defense as Oakdale slipped past Kimball in an exciting 58-50 contest during Homecoming on Friday.
Watts scored 10 points and saw Spencer Thomas explode for three second-half treys and a 13-point stanza in the final two periods.
Devin Donahue also scored 13 points while Jordan Miller (seven), Michael Adian (six), Gerardo Esparza (five) and Marcus Northcutt (four) also found the net.
“We came out focused and ready to go,” Oakdale coach Chad Jackson said. “We’ve been more consistent offensively.”
The freshmen were the only team to fall during the Homecoming festivities on Friday night.