It's about a one-hour, 45-minute bus ride from Denair High to Mariposa High, which gave the Mariposa boys basketball team ample time to celebrate Tuesday night.
Cody Wichman scored 31 points as Mariposa pulled away to a 75-63 win over Denair, making the Mariposa first Valley boys' team to clinch an outright league title. With its 15th straight win, Mariposa is 12-0 in the Southern League, 21-3 overall, and has a four-game lead over second-place Le Grand with three games left to play. Denair fell to 12-11, 6-6.
Pierce Chaney added 19 points for Mariposa, which is No. 7 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV rankings.
Le Grand (12-8, 8-4) tried to keep pace with Mariposa, getting 30 points from Dannon Graham in a 56-53 win against Turlock Christian, but that just kept the Bulldogs in second place, four games back.
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Also in the SL, Delhi outscored Waterford 20-6 in the third quarter en route to a 64-51 win. Delhi is 11-13, 5-7 as Oscar Borg scored 20 points. Miguel Aguirre scored 16 points for Waterford (3-20, 1-10.)
The feeling all along was that Patterson was going to knock off one of the contenders before the end of the season, and that happened when Patterson dominated Central Catholic over the middle two quarters to win 73-57 on the road.
Kent Foster had 22 points while Adan Cortez and Cody Weinzheimer added 17 apiece as Patterson (9-15, 6-6) put the WAC race back up for grabs. Dan Hulst and Dusty Killian scored 21 apiece for Central Catholic inside, but Central’s outside game was contained as they fell to 19-5, 10-2 and saw their lead over Hilmar and Livingston dwindle to one game.CC was outscored 46-30 over the middle two quarters. Central Catholic’s next two games will decide its WAC fate. The Raiders play at Livingston on Friday and are at Hilmar on Tuesday.
Hilmar (17-6, 9-3) maintained its hold on second when it cruised to a 65-24 win over Gustine (3-19, 1-11) in another game played with a fourth-quarter running clock. Noel Zaldana led Hilmar with 18 points.
CCC Turlock High clinched no worse than a co-title in the Central California Conference when it rolled to a 67-24 win at Los Banos. Camille Roberts scored 20 points and Kayle Schumann added 18 as Turlock improved to 21-4, 9-0 and have a three-game lead over Pitman with three games remaining.
Los Banos fell to 11-14, 5-5.