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Winter Sports Mustangs Mark Homecoming, Senior Night
Oakdale’s Niko Klose, 24, dribbles his way down the court against the Kimball Jaguars during Friday night’s varsity Homecoming contest. Kimball escaped with a narrow victory. Jeff Kettering/The Leader

The setting was as good as it gets on Friday, Jan. 28 in the Mustang Arena: a large crowd, Homecoming royalty candidates dressed to the nines, and a worthy opponent for boys basketball action in the Kimball Jaguars. The freshman and JV teams had played what many thought was some of their best basketball of the season, both winning, with the JVs holding off the visiting Jaguars in an exciting final three minutes of their game. The environment in the Mustang Arena was therefore electric as both varsity teams took the floor and, for three quarters, the Mustangs, though missing star forward Landon Nunes (ankle sprain), did not disappoint. Jackson Holt held firm in the key despite confronting a very large front line fielded by the Jaguars. Nate Criswell played tough as he always does and Johnathan Kraude was the proverbial whirling dervish of activity both on defense and moving the ball forward on offense as the Mustangs played their way to a 23-17 halftime lead (11-6 at the end of the first quarter). Senior Niko Klose, starting in place of Nunes, was a major factor in rebounding, passing, and playing defense. In all, the first half ended with Kraude leading all scorers with eight points, followed by Criswell with six, Holt with four, Klose with two, and sophomore Jayden Coelho with three on the strength of a key three-pointer.

The third quarter saw both teams open up the scoring in a tit-for-tat fashion, with the Jaguars outscoring the Mustangs 16-15 and Oakdale maintaining a 38-33 lead at the buzzer. A key event came early in the fourth quarter, however, when Mustang standout Criswell, fouled out of the game on what many in attendance termed a ‘phantom foul.’ The officials whistled the Mustangs for 14 team fouls contrasted with eight for the Jaguars in the second half, in a game where both teams played with an equal level of aggressiveness. At that point, the Jaguars employed a full court press on defense and senior Kobe Harris (22 points) began to get hot from beyond the arc hitting four treys, as the Jaguars tied the score at 44 apiece with just under two minutes to go in the game. Led by Kraude (17 points), Holt (12), and Klose (seven), the Mustangs played tough and kept it close until they were assessed their 10th team foul. Assured of two shots on all fouls at that point, and with senior Isaiah Baptista (16 points) joining Harris in the three-pointer parade, the Jaguars pulled ahead by five with under a minute to go, forcing the Mustangs to foul. Harris and company converted their free throws while the Mustangs forced their final shots, hitting none, resulting in the final score of 54-47 in favor of the Jaguars.



The JV boys took a thrilling 58-53 win off the court against Kimball on Friday night and also were 54-52 winners at Weston Ranch this past week. Also picking up a pair of victories, the freshmen defeated Kimball 60-51 and took down Weston Ranch, 49-36.


Girls Basketball

A prolific third quarter of play propelled the Manteca Buffalo varsity girls basketball team to a 46-30 victory over the Lady Mustangs on Jan. 25 in the Mustang Arena. After the Buffaloes went out to a 10-4 lead at the end of the first quarter, Oakdale, led by a three-pointer by Savannah Borba, coming off the bench, outscored the Buffaloes 7-6 in the second stanza to cut the lead to 16-11. The Lady Buffaloes came out determined at the outset of the second half and used an effective pressure defense and dominant rebounding, as well as a combination of outside and inside shooting to outscore the flat Mustangs 18-3 in the third period, taking a 20-point lead (34-14) into the final stanza. While the varsity girls, led by senior Aidyn Hill (13 points), Borba (five), and four points each from Victoria Cadwell, Anika Garrett and Kaci Jericoff, outscored the Buffaloes 16-12 in the fourth quarter, it was too little, too late to thwart the Buffaloes.


Girls Soccer

The Mustang varsity girls soccer team played its Senior Night game against the Central Catholic Raiders on Thursday, Jan. 27 in the Corral. The Raiders walked away with a 2-1 nailbiter victory over the Mustangs. The teams scored all three goals in the opening 20 minutes of the first 40-minute stanza. Oakdale’s Jocelyn Gradilla opened the scoring driving past two defenders to place a shot past the outstretched left arm of the Raider goalie just over six minutes into the match. The Mustang lead was short-lived, however, as the visiting Raiders struck back 86 seconds later to knot the score at one. Eleven minutes later, the Raiders punched in what turned out to be the winning goal. During the remaining 60 minutes of the match, the teams battled hard in what can only be described as a very physical contest with the Mustangs taking several shots on goal only to be thwarted by Raider goalkeeper Alicia Lepe. The match also served as the final home game for seven Mustang seniors and one exchange student. The exchange student is Alberte Hansen, from Denmark, living with Marisa and Tony Rodgers during her year at Oakdale High School. The seven seniors included goalkeeper Victoria Rojas and position players Ruby Fink, Ximena and Kiara Vigil, Maquel Besson, Micaiah Richison, and Jade Manriquez. The Lady Mustangs were to wrap up their 2022 campaign on the road on Tuesday, Feb. 1 in Manteca, playing the Timberwolves of Sierra High School.

Earlier in the week, the girls notched a 6-0 shutout on the road, Jan. 25 at Weston Ranch. Goals came from Mia Manley, Kyndra Obermeyer, Kyra Binstock, Anna Nadler, Claire McGee-Brown and Madison Bohannon with assists from Manley, Obermeyer, Nadler and Trista French.


Boys Soccer

In action on the road Wednesday, Jan. 26, the varsity Mustangs lost a 3-2 decision to the Sierra Timberwolves, with goals from Edgar Gonzalez and Christopher Diaz; assists by Angel Pineda and Nicolas Cazares. They were back on the road for a Monday, Jan. 31 contest against Weston Ranch. The varsity battled to a 3-3 tie with the Cougars while the JV soccer boys fell in a 4-2 final. Scoring for the varsity were Joel Gonzalez (two goals) and Kevin Camelin (one) with Alex Martinez notching an assist.


Mustang Wrestling

Oakdale traveled to Natomas High School for the team duals on Saturday, Jan. 29.

“We finished second Saturday in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 Duals,” said head coach Steve Strange. “Zeke Vela at 122, Micheal Torres at 128, Ceasar Garza at 172, Carlos Garcia at 162 all went 2-0 Saturday.”

Oakdale defeated Elk Grove by an overwhelming 61-3 decision in the opener, but then fell to Vacaville in the championship round, 41-19.

The second place finish was a new experience for many of the Mustangs, noted Strange.

“Dating back to 2009 we had won the title 12 years in a row until this loss Saturday,” he explained. “We had won the D3 title for several consecutive years, we were moved from D3 to D2 in 2019, we won the D2 title in 2019 so they moved us up to D1 in 2020. We won the D1 title in 2020 and we will be in D1 now for the foreseeable future.”

This week, the Mustangs will head to Central Catholic for the Valley Oak League Championships.

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Lady Mustang senior soccer players were honored recently at their Senior Night and included, from left, Micaiah Richardson, exchange student Alberte Hansen, Jade Manriquez, Maquel Besson, Ximena Vigil, Kiara Vigil, Ruby Fink and Victoria Rojas. Jeff Kettering/The Leader