By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Aragon tops Ceres in NorCal Playoffs
Placeholder Image
Fans filed into the Ceres High gymnasium 40 minutes before tipoff. They cheered when the varsity girls basketball team was introduced. At the end of the game, the Bulldogs received a standing ovation for their outstanding effort.

Ceres concluded its season with a 52-42 loss to Aragon on Tuesday, March 8 in the first round of the NorCal Division II playoffs.

"This group has something nobody has," said Ceres coach Shawna Nunes. "It's that banner on the wall."

Ceres (25-7), winner of the Sac-Joaquin Section title, challenged Aragon (27-5), runner-up in the Central Coast Section,

after spotting the Dons a sizable first-half lead.

"We never gave up," said Ceres sophomore center Kristen McClure. "We played with a lot of heart."

Ceres' starting lineup totaled just 14 points. Senior forward Krystle Brown and junior guard Jennifer Arnold had six and three points, respectively. Senior point guard Heather Mazza, senior forward Meghan Franksen and senior center Kelsey Sayad all scored two points.

Ceres' reserves carried the scoring load. McClure, Heather Jones and Jessica Mazza combined for 27 points. McClure had a team-high 12 points, including eight in the first half. Jones, a sophomore guard, scored nine points, including seven in the second half. Mazza, a junior guard/forward, added six points.

"Our young kids really stepped up," Nunes said.

Laura Zasly and Ashley Alipate tallied 20 and 16 points, respectively, for Aragon, which shot 40 percent (4-for-10) from the foul line.

Zasly scored from just about everywhere. Alipate scored at will in the inside.

The Dons outscored the Bulldogs 19-7 in the first quarter and led by 19, 32-13, at the break. Zasly and Alipate had 13 and eight points, respectively.

Ceres outscored Aragon 29-20 in the second half, including 13-3 in the third quarter. The Bulldogs trailed by just nine heading into the final quarter thanks in part to an 8-0 run. Jessica Mazza buried a mid-range jumper and Jones scored six straight points.

The Dons opened the fourth quarter with a 9-0 run to push their lead to 18, 44-26.

The Bulldogs responded with a 11-2 run to get within nine with 3:02 left in regulation. McClure and Brown both scored four points. Sayad had two points. Heather Mazza added one point.

Ahead 46-37, the Aragon outscored Ceres 6-5 in the final 2:45.

"We came back and played hard," Brown said.

The Bulldogs shot just 21 percent (3-for-14) from the foul line for the game. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier