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Bulldogs, Hawks honored by WAC coaches
Binder Atwal very rarely disappointed during his final season with Ceres High School's varsity boys basketball program.

Atwal, Bulldog teammate Jimbo Pernetti, and Central Valley's Camron Thornton, Miguel Rodriguez and Jaron Dickson were all recognized in a vote by the Western Athletic Conference's coaches on Feb. 27 in Turlock.

"They earned it," Hawks head coach Darryl Dickson said.

"Overall, I thought it was pretty fair," Bulldogs head coach Brian de la Porte said while talking about the selection process.

Binder was among four players selected to the WAC First Team, including Central Catholic's Kyler Wilson and Donovin Townsend, and Patterson's Cariun Williams.

"He (Atwal) was the No. 1 vote getter outside the two MVPs," de la Porte stated. "I think that says a lot. The other coaches recognized him. He was our best player. He was the second-leading scorer in league. He did a great job for us this year."

Atwal averaged 19.5 points, 6.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game while starring at point guard for Ceres High, which finished in third place in conference play (7-5). Binder suffered a badly sprained ankle during the Bulldogs' second league contest.

"He was hurting but sucked it up," de la Porte said. "A lot of kids would have taken a couple weeks off. He proved his love for Ceres High basketball."

Atwal earned second-team, all-league honors as a junior. He averaged 10.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.7 steals.

"Binder had a good two-year career," de la Porte said. "He became a solid leader."

Five players were named to the WAC Second Team: Thornton, Rodriguez, Los Banos' Kyle Quint, Patterson's Keegan Sanchez and Livingston's Gabriel Deol.

Thornton, Central Valley's floor general, averaged 16.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.

He poured in a school record for points in an individual league contest with 33 versus Pacheco.

"I thought Camron earned the right to be on the first team," coach Dickson said. "He missed it by one point."

Rodriguez, a junior forward, averaged 13.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and shot 34 percent from 3-point range.

"He'll be fighting for MVP of the league next year," Darryl said.

Dickson and Pernetti were honorable-mention picks.

Jaron, an undersized freshman guard, averaged 10.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. He made 39 percent of his 3-point attempts.

"He helped us quite a bit," coach Dickson said. "He's going to be a force to be reckoned with. We still have him for three more years."

Pernetti, a 6-foot-1 junior forward, averaged 10.1 points and 8.0 rebounds per contest.

"He was awesome for us our last eight games," de la Porte said.

Central Catholic's John Fenton and Los Banos' Joey Bennett were named co-MVPs.

Fenton and Bennett led the Raiders and Tigers to a share of the WAC title (10-2).

Patterson (8-4), Central Valley (4-8), Pacheco (2-10) and Livingston (1-11) finished second, fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.

Central Catholic's Mike Wilson and Los Banos' Mike Bonillas shared Coach of the Year honors