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Arnold, Mazza lead Ceres past Downey
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Jennifer Arnold does most of her damage from the outside during games. The Ceres High junior guard put on a show against Downey Thursday night in Ceres.

Arnold scored from just about everywhere. She grabbed offensive and defensive rebounds. She played stellar defense, which led to several steals. Arnold was in attack mode. She helped fill Krystle Brown's void.

Arnold scored six of her season-high 13 points in the fourth quarter as the Bulldogs beat the Knights, 55-48, in front of a feverish homecoming crowd.

"They (coaches Shawna Nunes and Phil de la Porte) said to play more aggressive and go at them," Arnold stated.

Added de la Porte: "I'm not surprised. Jennifer has spent time on weekends working on her game. Tonight, we needed her."

Heather Mazza had a game-high 15 points, including eight in the second half, Meghan Franksen added seven points, and Heather Jones and Donna Zaragoza both scored five points for the Bulldogs.

Rachel Burrell and Joane Keokanock had 14 points apiece for the Knights. Keokanock made three 3-pointers. Lisa Watson, Kapri Hockaday, Nelli Sevilla and Nikki Wilson added eight, five, four and three points, respectively.

"Mazza is a floor general," de la Porte said. "She gets us going. It's nice to have that leadership."

Ceres improved to 17-4 overall, 8-1 in the Modesto Metro Conference. Downey fell to 7-12 overall, 4-5 in the MMC standings.

The Knights kept the game close for three quarters.

"They weren't as bad as the last time we played them," de la Porte said. "They gave Davis a game. They only lost to them by seven."

Added Arnold: "We underestimated them."

Tied at 39-all, Ceres opened the fourth with a 13-0 run. The Bulldogs outscored the Knights 16-9 in the quarter. Heather Mazza had four points. Jones and Zaragoza both buried a 3-pointer.

"The kids responded," de la Porte said.

The Knights built a six-point lead in the first half. They scored inside and outside.

Burrell and Keokanock accounted for 19 of Downey's 29 points.

Keokanock scored 10 points, including seven in the first quarter. Burrell had nine points, including four layups in the second quarter.

Down 29-23, Ceres outscored Downey 16-10 in the third quarter.

Arnold had five points. Heather Mazza had four points. Jones and Brown had two points. Franksen had one point.

Arnold started shooting more after Brown got ejected. Brown, Ceres' leading scorer, picked up her second technical foul in the third quarter. She earned a one-game suspension.

"She's an emotional player," de la Porte said.

The Bulldogs shot 30 percent (19-for-64) from the floor and 65 percent (13-for-20) from the free-throw line for the game.

The Knights shot 38 percent (20-for-53) from the floor and 36 percent (4-for-11) from the foul line.

Ceres rolled to a 73-52 victory over the Downey in Modesto on Jan. 13. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier