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Bulldogs pull off comeback
Edgar Lopez and his Ceres High School varsity boys basketball teammates headed to the locker room disappointed but not discouraged during halftime of last week's Western Athletic Conference clash with Los Banos.

"I wasn't worried," Lopez said. "I knew we'd get back into the game. We have enough firepower."

The Bulldogs showed a tremendous amount of resiliency while rallying for a 59-53 win against the Tigers Wednesday night at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

"It's good to have a challenge like that," said Lopez, whose team fell behind by as many as 12 points in the opening half. "We got to see what we're made of."

Ceres High moved to 11-6 on the year and 2-0 in the WAC.

Los Banos fell to 11-9 and 1-2.

The Bulldogs won their last league title in 1994 when they competed in the Valley Oak League. Ceres High made its last playoff appearance in 2007.

"We want it bad," Lopez said while talking about his team's goals for the 2010-11 season. "It would mean everything. I'm a senior. I have to go all out."

Lopez and Binder Atwal led the way on offense with 18 points apiece.

John Dhillon, Ceres High's leader, scored nine of his 15 points during a key run in the second half.

Tre Haynes had six points. He was a bigger factor on the defensive end.

Chris Hilgen added two points.

Los Banos had three players score in double figures, including Joey Bennett (16), Matt Nunes (13) and Gracian Arretche (10).

The Tigers buried five 3-pointers and committed just two turnovers while building a 33-24 lead in the first half. Ceres High faced a 12-point deficit with 1:22 remaining in the second quarter.

The Bulldogs reeled off 19 straight points and led by as much as 10 points in the third quarter. Dhillon made two treys and converted a three-point play.

"We tightened up our defense, boxed out and ran as much as we could on offense" Lopez said.

Atwal's fourth and final 3-pointer put the Bulldogs ahead 51-48 late in the fourth quarter.

The Tigers cut the deficit to one on Arretche's basket at the 2:07 mark.

Haynes blocked Los Banos' potential go-ahead shot attempt with 1:46 left in regulation.

Lopez took over down the stretch by tallying Ceres High's final eight points. He made all six of his free throws and a long-range shot. Edgar missed two of four foul shots earlier in the period.

"I'm comfortable having the ball in my hands at the end of games," Lopez said. "If we need them (free throws), I make them."

Ceres High played shorthanded against Los Banos.

Five Bulldogs were suspended one game for leaving the bench during an on-court altercation at Central Catholic the previous week.

Sophomore guard Jimbo Pernetti was sidelined with a hand injury.

Ceres High will travel to Patterson today. The WAC contest will get underway at 7:30 p.m.