The memory of a 26-10 halftime deficit and away loss to Oakdale High’s varsity boys basketball team on Jan. 25 must not have been far from the minds of Sonora players on Feb. 8.
The host Wildcats avenged that prior defeat with a tenacious defensive approach, limiting Oakdale to single digits in every Sonora-dominated quarter. A 30-14 shellacking in the second half ensured a 53-28 win in Sonora favor.
Oakdale trailed by just six after a period and by only nine at the break, but were effectively silenced during an 11-5 Sonora run in the final frame.
The Mustangs surrendered a 17-point game high to six foot, seven inch center, Ben Bates, the tallest player in the Valley Oak League.
Oakdale’s DeWayne Finney scored 11 points on Sonora while Austin Archuleta (six), Josh Watts (four), Spencer Thomas (two), Jaidyn Sheetz (two), Kyle Peterson (two) and Gerardo Esparza (one) also found the net.
The loss drops Oakdale to 3-10 in the VOL and 9-17 overall. Oakdale received a bump to 25th on the latest release of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III power ratings, but will be well short of a playoff qualification.
The Valley Oak League could send as many as five teams to the postseason, and should see co-league champs Sierra and Weston Ranch nab top-five seeds in D-III. The two teams were top three in the latest release of the power ratings, but could struggle in the postseason against private school state power, Modesto Christian (currently fifth and unbeaten in the Division IV Trans-Valley League).
Casa Roble (7-2 in the Capital Valley League), Lincoln (7-2, Pioneer Valley League), Fairfield (7-2, Solano County Athletic Conference), Patterson (9-2, Western Athletic Conference) and Inderkum (7-2, Tri-County Conference) are the other top teams in the division.
Foothill, which won the DIII playoffs at the expense of Sierra last year, is No. 10 and just 5-4 in the PVL.
Oakdale closed the season at home against Manteca on Tuesday, but results were not available at press time.