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Buffs hammer Dawgs in basketball
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Ceres High's varsity boys basketball team outscored Valley Oak League rival and visiting Manteca 30-19 in the first half en route to a 65-57 victory earlier this month.

The Buffaloes returned the favor by humbling the Bulldogs, 60-40, Friday night at Winter Gym.

"It got away from us really quick," Ceres head coach Jason Martin said. "We didn't have very many players play well. Inside the key is where we lost the game. Not being aggressive. Giving up way too many layups. Manteca was much more physical."

Brett Sayad led the 5-3 Bulldogs with 25 points. Lance Hunter, Martino Bertolotti, Marcus Hilgen and Justin Canatsy totaled six, four, three and two points, respectively. Thomas Vanderlaan was held scoreless.

Hilgen (18 points), Sayad (17) and Vanderlaan (10), Ceres High's Big Three, combined for 45 points during the first meeting.

Nick Scheible led Manteca (5-3) with 22 points. Dominique Barnes (eight points), Elan Ferguson (six), Jerry Hernandez (five), Laron Bennett (four), Kevin Miller (three), Eric Watts (two), Ernie Pimentel (two) and David Mills (two) also scored for the Buffaloes.

Manteca used a huge first half, much like Ceres did in the first meeting, to defeat the Bulldogs. The Buffaloes buried 12 of 22 shots from the field on their way to building a 29-18 lead.

"The first half they had eight different guys score," said Martin, whose team managed to convert just 6 of 20 shots from the floor in the opening 16 minutes. "They were spreading the ball around."

On Wednesday, Ceres High edged East Union 48-47 at the Dalben Center.

The Bulldogs had a six-point lead heading into the fourth.

"We started playing not to lose instead of finishing them off," Martin said.

Sayad finished the game with 24 points. Vanderlaan, Hilgen, Hunter, Canatsy and Tony Bradford added seven, six, five, three and two points, respectively.

Ceres High entered last week ranked No. 14 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III Power Ratings. The top 16 teams make the playoffs with seeds to be determined next month.

The Bulldogs have six games left on their VOL schedule. Ceres will host first-place Weston Ranch (8-0) today and scrappy East Union (1-7) on Friday. The Bulldogs have an unblemished 3-0 record at home.

When asked about his team's playoff chances, Martin said: "We just got to keep winning. We can't afford more than one more loss the rest of the year."