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Bulldogs hold off Hawks in second half
Playing at home for the first time since Jan. 12, Ceres High School's varsity girls basketball turned in a dominant first-half performance before sweating out a 37-25 victory over crosstown rival Central Valley last Thursday.

"Beating them gives us more bragging rights," Bulldogs standout Jode Johnson said.

Johnson scored nine of her game-high 16 points in the opening half for Ceres High (4-3). Jamie Beck and Stephanie Yankovich added 13 and eight points, respectively.

Alyssa Long tallied a team-high six points for Central Valley (2-6). Phylicia Martinez and Myra Naranjo both collected five points. Lizette Covarrubias contributed three points. Vivien Fermil, Anicia Camarillo and Amanda Lopez finished with two points apiece.

The Bulldogs managed to beat the Hawks despite being limited to just 14 points in the second half. Ceres High was held scoreless for eight-plus minutes.

Central Valley got within seven points twice in the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs converted just 9 of 19 foul shots after intermission.

"The bottom line is we had so many one-foot opportunities and didn't make them," Ceres High head coach Shawna Nunes said. "When we did get fouled, we didn't make our free throws. They were playing hard and it took us a while to respond to it. They became much more physical."

"They beat us up and we barely handled it," Johnson said.

Luckily for the Ceres High, Central Valley entered the second half down 23-8.

"If we would have come out stronger in the first half, it would have been a totally different game," Martinez said. "Everyone was nervous."

The VOL contest was originally scheduled to be played at Central Valley but was moved to Ceres High because of a leaking roof.

The atmosphere was electric in the much-smaller gymnasium.

Fans traded cheers and watched the Bulldogs improve their head-to-head record against the Hawks to 7-0 over the past four seasons.

"I could barely even hear my coaches because it was so loud," Johnson said.

Jode didn't have any trouble hearing chants of "MVP" directed her way at the end of the game.

CV frosh-soph outlasts Ceres High

Valerie Olide and her Central Valley High School frosh-soph girls basketball teammates never lost confidence despite falling behind by nine points in the opening quarter of its Valley Oak League showdown with crosstown rival Ceres High.

Olide dominated inside with 14 points as the Hawks overcame an 18-9 deficit to defeat the Bulldogs 38-33 on Thursday at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

Brittany Martinez and Diana Carmona both added eight points apiece for Central Valley. Penny Chanthavong and Geena Wade collected five and two points, respectively. Melinda Camarillo had one point.

"We're excited we won," Valerie said. "We're disappointed in the way we played. We're better than that."

Jessica Ellsworth and Ashton Frampton shouldered the scoring load for Ceres High, which competed with just a six-player roster.

Ellsworth had a game-high 20 points, while Frampton chipped in 11.

The duo helped the Bulldogs build a 18-9 lead in the first quarter.

Jessica and Ashton tallied 10 and eight points, respectively.

"It wasn't going so good for us," Olide said. "But we picked it up. We really wanted to win."

The Hawks rallied for the victory on the strength of a 21-13 surge in the second half.

Olide, Martinez, Carmona and Chanthavong tallied eight, six, four and two points, respectively.

"We tried hard," Valerie said.