Manteca's Jayda Jackson (15) has impressed in the first two months, helping guide the Buffaloes to the top of the large-school poll. (Sean Kahler)

Manteca, Sonora girls claim No. 1 spots in first large- and small-school polls

Joe Cortez

Large Schools 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Comprised of teams from the Central Calffornia Athletic League, Central California Conference, Valley Oak League, Western Athletic Conference, Tri-City Athletic League.

1. Manteca (13-6) — Junior Jayda Jackson and sophomore Kyaria Jacobs led the way with 14.7 and 11.6 points, respectively, per game. And here’s the scary thing about the Buffaloes: they have just two seniors on the entire roster, and neither averages more than two points per game. Manteca bolsters its claim to the top spot with wins against Division I heavyweights Turlock and Pitman of Central California Athletic League. The Buffs will collide with Kimball (15-3, 4-0) on Wednesday for the top spot in the valley Oak League.

2. Lathrop (13-5) — The Spartans suffered a 56-55 loss to Manteca on Dec. 15, otherwise the Spartans could very well be the No. 1 large school team in the Front Row region. Six-foot-1 senior Mary Cotton leads the team in every meaningful category — points (16.7), rebounds (11.9), assists (2.7), steals (3.1), blocks (3.5). Lathrop has big 62-39 victory over Beyer.

3. Atwater (13-6) — The Falcons have an impressive blowout victory over Modesto Christian, the standard by which all girls teams are measured in these parts. But the Falcons dropped a Central California Conference game to El Capitan last week, giving the Gauchos the early advantage in the race for the CCC crown. Awater is led by identical twins Kelsey and Lexi Valencia. Kelsey averaged 18 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 5.3 steals per game, while Lexi contributes 15.3 points, 4 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 4.3 steals per contest.

4. Modesto Christian (7-9) — The Crusaders haven’t been at full strength and, as usual, have played an ambitious schedule. Despite a sub-.500 record, Modesto Christian gets a place the rankings, because, well, they’re Modesto Christian. But more than just reputation, the Crusaders showed signs of coming around with a 66-47 thumping of a talented Beyer squad.

(t) 5. Turlock (12-6)  and Pitman (10-7) — Turlock and Pitman have six.common opponents this season in No. 1 (large) Manteca, No. 1 (small) Sonora, Lincoln, Edison, Patterson and Gregori. Turlock beat Sonora 61-60, while Pitman Los to the Wildcats 67-57. Both lost to Lincoln, with Turlock falling 43-38 in a close contest while Pitman was absolutely hammered by the Trojans 55-14. We'll wait until the teams meet on Jan. 22 in CCAL action to determine which one gets the No. 5 spot all to itself.

On the bubble — Beyer (14-4), Central Catholic (14-6) East Union (12-6), Enochs (12-5), El Capitan (12-7).

Small Schools

EDITOR'S NOTE: Comprised of teams from the Trans-Valley League, Mother Lode League, Southern League, Central California Athletic Alliance.

Ripon guard Reina Sausedo (2) is playing at an MVP level for the Indians, No. 5 in the small-school poll. Sausedo is averaging nearly 18 points per game. (Manteca Bulletin)

1. Sonora (10-5) — The Wildcats scored an impressive win over Large School No. 4 Pitman and has narrow losses to No. 3 Turlock and bubble team Enochs, all Division I schools, and a one-point overtime loss to No. 4 Ripon.

2. Calaveras (10-3) — Lost to Sonora 52-51 in overtime at home and won’t get a chance to avenge that setback until Jan. 24.

3. Mariposa (15-1) — The lone blemish on the Grizzlies record (15-1) this season is a head-scratching loss to a down Merced team, at home. Other than than that, Mariposa has rolled. Led by 5-foot-10 senior Milea Appling, who is scoring 24.5 points while pulling down 10.2 rebounds per game, Mariposa owns impressive wins over El Capitan and Livingston.

4. Livingston (12-7) — The Wolves are led by Annie Winton, whose 25.8 points per game rank third in the Sac-Joaquin Section. Livingston beat El Capitan and has a 22-point victory over Ripon. 

5. Ripon (12-6) — Led by Reina Sausedo, who averages 17.9 points and 7.2 rebonds per game, the Indians have an overtime victory over top-ranked Sonora on their resume.