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Bulldog trio tallies 50 points in OT victory
Jode Johnson has emerged as one of the go-to-players for Ceres High's varsity girls basketball team this season.

The junior sank a clutch 15-foot jumper with 2.3 seconds left in overtime to lift the Bulldogs to a dramatic 53-51 victory over host Sierra Thursday night.

"Taking on a role like that is something I never imagined I'd do," said Johnson, a third-year starter.

Johnson finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists for Ceres High, which collected its third straight win to improve to 5-3 in the Valley Oak League standings.

The Bulldogs have been on a roll since suffering lopsided losses to Sonora and Oakdale. Ceres High battled back from a 15-point deficit to defeat Weston Ranch on Tuesday, Jan. 27 and routed crosstown rival Central Valley 58-42 on Jan. 22.

"The mindset and attitude is reminiscent of some of our old teams," head coach ShawnaNunes said. "They refuse to lose. Everybody has accepted their role. Because of that, they're playing better."

Sophomore center Jamie Beck and senior guard Aimee Gunzenahuser both had monster games at Sierra.

Beck tallied 23 points, including the overtime-forcing basket at the end of regulation, and 11 rebounds.

Gunzenhauser had 12 points, 17 rebounds and five assists.

Junior guard Amy Raymond contributed three points.

Sophomore guard Lili Jaimes drew a charge against Timberwolf forward Ariel McIntyre (eight points), a player twice her size. Jaimes showed her toughness when she popped right up after the nasty collision.

Heather Scharmann led Sierra (3-5 VOL) with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

Michelle Arroyo, Rebecca Wroten and Stephanie Maestretti added nine, seven and two points, respectively, as the Timberwolves rallied from a 30-21 halftime deficit.

The Bulldogs survived thanks to the stellar play of Johnson, Beck and Gunzenhauser. Ceres High also received solid contributions from its role players.

Jode knocked down the winning shot from near the free-throw line.

She secured the victory with a steal of Sierra's full-court inbounds pass.

"We weren't going to lose that game," Johnson said. "Once I took the shot, I knew it was going in because it felt good."

Jode's hard work paid off. Known for her ability to score inside off layups and offensive rebounds, Johnson has since added a mid-range shot to her repertoire.

"I've been coming in on Saturdays and Sundays to work on my game," she said.