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Ceres High's and Central Valley's boys and girls basketball, and wrestling programs held their first official practices for the winter sports season on Monday, Nov. 7.

Ceres High's boys and Central Valley's girls hoops teams both face rebuilding years following successful 2010-11 campaigns.

The Bulldogs returned to the playoffs after a three-year absence. Ceres High posted a 17-9 overall record and captured the Western Athletic Conference crown outright with an 8-2 mark. The Bulldogs hadn't won a league title in 17 years.

Ceres High's boys bring back just three players from last season, including Binder Atwal (Sr.), Jose Nava (Sr.) and Jimbo Pernetti (Jr.). Starters John Dhillon, Edgar Lopez, Chris Hilgen and George Borden graduated in June.

Dhillon and Lopez combined to make up one of the most productive backcourts in the Stanislaus District.

John claimed the WAC MVP award. He averaged 15.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.8 steals per game.

Edgar garnered first-team, all conference recognition. He averaged 19.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals.

"At the time, you don't really think about it," Bulldogs head coach Brian de la Porte said. "It hit me in the summertime with all the new faces. It felt different not seeing John, Edgar Chris and George. That time's over with. It was an unbelievable run. It was our first league championship in a lot of years. We got back to the playoffs. Now, it's about maintaining that level. I honestly feel we can. Tradition never graduates."

Binder earned second-team all-conference honors as a junior. He averaged 10.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.7 steals. Atwal will be asked to do more this season.

"I think Binder can be one of the top five players in the Stanislaus District like John was last year," de la Porte said. "He has the talent. He just needs to produce."

Nava and newcomer Harman Chung (So.) will provide a presence inside.

Central Valley's girls reached record heights last year.

With Alyssa Long, Myra Naranjo and Eva Noorzai leading the way, the Hawks won a league title and advanced to the playoffs for the first time in program history. The trio graduated in June.

Long and Naranjo were both named to the WAC first team.

Alyssa was the Hawks' best all-round player. She averaged 9.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.6 steals and 2.3 assists per game.

Myra averaged 11.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game. She buried 22 3-pointers and shot 87 percent (13 of 15) from the free-throw line.

Eva, a second-team, all-conference selection, averaged 5.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.4 steals per game.

Central Valley's top returners are Brittany Martinez (Jr.), Diana Carmona (Sr.), Vivien Fermil (Sr.) and Geena Wade (Sr.).

Martinez, a 6-foot-2 post player, averaged 7.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.3 rebounds per game this past season.

Carmona averaged 5.7 points, 1.9 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.3 rebounds. She made 11 3-pointers.

Fermil averaged 4.3 points, 1.8 assists, 1.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals. She buried 10 treys.

Wade averaged 3.4 points and 2.2 rebounds.

Mia Lorenzo, a standout on last year's WAC frosh-soph girls title team (22-2, 11-1), will split playing time at guard with Carmona and Fermil.

Central Valley's varsity girls posted a 15-8 overall record and tied for first in the WAC (8-2) with Los Banos during the 2010-11 school year.

The Hawks are targeting a repeat performance.

"They know what I expect," Central Valley head coach Jesse Padilla said.

Ceres High's girls basketball team has a new head coach in former Bulldog star Vanessa Morris.

Morris replaced Shawna Nunes, who decided to retired following a successful 18-year stint. She led Ceres High to a 365-142 overall record, one section championship, six league titles and 15 postseason appearances.

Morris inherits a program that's missed the playoffs three out of the last four years. The Bulldogs posted a 5-15 overall record and placed fourth in the WAC (3-7) a season ago.

Ceres High returns several key players, including league-MVP Bryce Ford. Ford, a 5-foot-10 junior, averaged 18.0 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game this past season.

Veteran Ashton Frampton (Sr.) and newcomer Breanna Freitas (Jr.) will also contribute.

"We have a young team," Morris said. "We just want to get better."

Central Valley's boys basketball team struggled to an 11-16 record and last-place finish in the WAC standings (2-8) last winter.

The Hawks will be striving for improvement this year.

Central Valley star forward/center David Griffin was lost to graduation. The WAC first-team pick averaged a team-leading 15.1 points and 7.1 rebounds.

"For us, a realistic goal is to try to get to .500," Hawks head coach Darryl Dickson said. "We'll see what happens."

Returners Miguel Rodriguez (Jr.) and Camron Thornton (Sr.) will fill key roles.

Rodriguez, a 6-foot-3 forward, made three treys and converted all five of his foul shots while pouring in a career-high 25 points in Central Valley's 71-60 upset of second-place Livingston last season.

Thornton will start at point guard.

Newcomer Hawk Duarte (Jr.) will be counted upon for his outside shooting.

Darryl plans to promote underclassmen Ja'Quan Gardner, Jordan Sek, Diego Sanchez, Milton Uti and Jaron Dickson to varsity during the preseason.

Jaron made five treys on his way to tallying a team-high 17 points as the Hawks rallied for a 73-70 win over Escalon in summer-league play.

Gardner rushed for a school-record 1,985 yards and 25 touchdowns while starring on CV's varsity football team.

Ceres High's wrestling team returns a wealth of talent, including Nick Moran (Sr.), Gabriel Balderas (Jr.), Joey Bettencourt (Jr.), Dustin Palecek (Jr.), Ruben Sanchez (Jr.) and Gabriel Solis (So.).

"We have a really good group of kids," Bulldogs assistant coach Steve Festa said. "We have experience."

Balderas qualified for the CIF State Championships as a sophomore. He won two of four matches en route to a top-16 finish in the 112-pound weight class. Balderas had an overall record of 41-14. He posted several upsets on his way to a sixth-place finish at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters meet. He placed third at Divisionals. Balderas won the WAC title.

Moran finished second while competing in the 140-pound class at the conference meet. Solis placed third at 125 pounds. Bettencourt (103s) took fourth.

Nick, Joey, Dustin and Gabriel all qualified for Divisionals.

Central Valley's wrestling team finished second overall in the WAC standings (4-1), participated in the Section team competition and sent 11 individuals to Divisionals last season.

"We have a lot of young kids this year, but our expectations aren't different," Hawks head coach Rob Beckhart said. "We'll be competitive."

Central Valley lost 10 grapplers to graduation, excluding Michael Manzur (So.), Adrian Vizcaino (So.), Rick Brown (So.), Anthony Centeno (Sr.) and Rose Moore (Sr.).

Manzur and Centeno finished second and third, respectively, at the league tournament.

Michael and Anthony wrestled at 103 and 140 pounds.

Vizcaino (171s) placed third at Escalon's Lloyd C. Engel Tournament as a freshman. He also contributed during team duals.

Marcus Rodriguez (Jr.), Francisco Valdez (Jr.), Anthony Bonales (So.) and Luis Torres (Fr.) are new to the team.

The Hawks had a roster size of 40-plus members during the first week of practice.

"The energy has been good," Beckhart said. "There's some excitement in the room."