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Bulldogs finish first half of WAC season with perfect record
Ceres High School's varsity boys basketball team withstood a strong challenge from Central Valley in the opening period of Wednesday's Western Athletic Conference showdown.

With the outcome decided late in the fourth quarter, members of the Bulldogs' rowdy student-cheering section clapped and chanted in unison "This game's over!" Hawk supporters had already filed out of Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

Ceres High won the crosstown battle, 68-39. More than 700 fans attended the homecoming contest.

"The students and people in the community are coming out in waves," Bulldogs head coach Brian de la Porte said. "We love the support. It's unbelievable."

Ceres High finished the first half of the WAC season with a perfect 5-0 record.

The Hawks went 2-3.

"It feels good since we're on top," said Bulldogs guard Edgar Lopez, who tallied 18 points in the victory. "We're getting respect."

Ceres High teammate John Dhillon scored a game-high 20 points. Chris Hilgen, Binder Atwal and Tre Haynes collected 10, nine and three points, respectively.Jeremy Cagle, Jimbo Pernetti, Beau Pimentel and Jose Nava all contributed two points.

David Griffin scored a team-high 12 points for the Hawks. Camron Thornton, Jamal Wessinger, Abraham Navarro, Ryan Sandner and Sunny Moun added nine, five, four and two points respectively. Miguel Rodriguez had one point.

Ceres High held a slim 17-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Bulldogs seized contr held Central Valley scoreless for 10-plus minutes.

The Hawks trailed 47-19 with 2:17 remaining in the third quarter.

"Our defense is carrying us every game," Lopez said.

Said Thornton: "This is the game we wanted the most out of the whole season. We just got outplayed after the first quarter. We could have hustled a little harder."

The Sac-Joaquin Section released its first installment of power ratings on Monday. If playoffs started this week, the Bulldogs would host a first-round game. Ceres High made its last postseason appearance in 2006-07.

"This group works well together," de la Porte said. "If they stay focused, we can accomplish some good things.

Added Lopez: "We still haven't proven anything because we have half the season to go. Anything can happen."

The Bulldogs will play host to Central Catholic on Wednesday and travel to Los Banos on Friday. Both games will begin at 7:30 p.m.ol with a 25-0 run. Ceres High