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Bulldogs suffer another loss
On the verge of being blown out by visiting Sierra, Ceres High's varsity boys basketball team closed a 17-point gap to five with a 13-1 run in the closing four minutes of the first half.

The fifth-place Bulldogs would get no closer the rest of the way in falling 69-59 to the first-place Timberwolves Friday night at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

With the loss, Ceres High dropped to 1-7 in the Valley Oak League. Sierra improved to 7-1 in the conference standings.

The Bulldogs couldn't contain Timberwolf guard Christian Williams, arguably the best player in the VOL. The 6-2 senior exploded for 39 points, bringing his two-game total versus Ceres High to 76.

"It's a challenge playing against somebody that good," Bulldogs senior guard Martino Bertolotti said. "He's just so much better than everyone else. He's unstoppable."

The Bulldogs were led by Bertolotti, Lance Hunter and Marcus Hilgen.

Bertolotti, Ceres High's leading scorer on the year, buried three treys on his way to tallying a team-high 19 points.

Hunter and Hilgen had 16 and eight points, respectively.

Justin Canatsy and Tony Bradford contributed seven points each.

Scott Meyer added two points.

Canatsy scored all seven of his points during Ceres High's improbable run to close the first half. The junior guard successfully completed a three-point play after being fouled by Williams, scored on an offensive rebound putback and converted a layup.

"We were playing hard but not doing the right things," Bertolotti said when asked why Sierra was able to take control in the opening half. "We were making mental mistakes."

The Timberwolves continued to rely on Williams after intermission and he didn't disappoint. Sierra teammate Trevor Nogueira assisted.

Christian had 21 second-half points, including 13 in the third period.

"He gets my vote for VOL player of the year," Bulldogs head coach Brian de la Porte said. "He's a one-man show."

Nogueira poured in nine of his 15 points in the final 16 minutes.

The Bulldogs trailed 51-45 at the 7:30 mark of the fourth period.

"We didn't get blown out," de la Porte said. "We hung in there and battled. It was a great effort for the kids."

Added Bertolotti: "I'm not happy because we lost. It's really frustrating because that's a game we could have won."