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Hawks steal one from Bulldogs

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Hawks steal one from Bulldogs


POSTED February 20, 2013 8:30 a.m.
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Ceres High School's varsity boys basketball team appeared headed for another victory over Central Valley.

I positioned myself near the Bulldogs' student cheering section late in the fourth quarter while preparing to take photos of the celebration.

And then it happened.

The host Hawks completed an incredible comeback.

Central Valley forced six turnovers in the final 1:45 and rallied for a 62-60 win against Ceres High on Feb. 8.

"Both teams played hard," Bulldogs head coach Brian de la Porte said. "It was a clean game. There was no trash talking. Give credit to Central Valley. They played hard for 32 minutes. They didn't give up. Our guys didn't either. It was a battle. We just made some mistakes."

Central Valley accounted for 10 of the game's final 12 points.

The Hawks cut the deficit to six, 58-52, with 1:45 left in regulation.

Jordan Thornton converted a layup off a steal to put Central Valley ahead, 58-57, with 33 seconds to play.

Seven seconds later, Jaron Dickson increased the Hawks' lead to 60-57 with two free throws.

Kendel Johnson hit two of four foul shots down the stretch.

A last-gasp attempt by Ceres High to send the contest into overtime failed.

Down 62-59, Harman Chung cut to the basket in the waning seconds and drew a foul while trying to score. He made the first free throw and purposely missed the second. The buzzer sounded before Bulldog teammate Angel Garcia could get a potential, game-tying shot off.

Central Valley fans rushed the court and jumped up and down in celebration with Hawk players.

Dickson and his Central Valley teammates stood in the middle of the green mosh pit.

"I was just standing there watching," Chung said. "We were up. We had it. Turnovers cost us the game. They deserved to win."

Jaron totaled 15 points in the game. He made all eight of his free throws.

Thornton had 21 points, including nine in the final period to go along with his key steals.

Ryan Donnelly added 10 points.

Central Valley lost its previous seven meetings to Ceres High.

The Bulldogs edged the Hawks 61-60 in overtime on Jan. 23.

"We bring the best out of them," de la Porte said. "They bring the best out of us."

Ceres High and Central Valley will battle for bragging rights again next season.

"We stopped the trend of them beating us," Hawks head coach Darryl Dickson said. "We played with a purpose. We played with a lot of heart and passion. It was a great atmosphere. We want to thank all the fans for coming out."

Trailing by 11 points early in the fourth quarter, Dickson and Central Valley supporters never lost faith in their team.

The Hawks rewarded their coach and classmates with an improbable comeback victory.
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