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Busy summer for CHS, CV basketball teams
Ceres High's and Central Valley's varsity boys and girls basketball teams played more than a combined 100 games this summer.

Ceres High's boys had a 30-game schedule.

The Bulldogs competed in the Modesto Junior College Summer League on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Ceres High also attended tournaments at Cal State Stanislaus, Pitman, Escalon and Ripon. The Bulldogs compiled a 3-11 record.

"We just tried to improve every game," Ceres High head coach Brian de la Porte said. "That's all we cared about."

The Bulldogs won the Western Athletic Conference crown and qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs during the 2010-11 school year.

"Every kid in our program got to witness what our varsity team did last year," de la Porte said. "They all want to have the same success, which is great. They're so motivated."

Ceres High lost four starters to graduation, including league-MVP John Dhillon, first-team honoree Edgar Lopez and post-players Chris Hilgen and George Borden.

"We're going to have a totally different team," de la Porte said. "We're young but we don't want to use that as an excuse."

Binder Atwal, Ceres High's top returner, earned second-team all-league honors as a junior. He averaged 10.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.7 steals per game.

"He's not just a shooter and slasher," de la Porte said. "He added a big part to his game, which is his play inside. He's going to create a lot of mismatches. Binder has a chance to be a great all-round player for us."

Bulldog sophomores Harman Chung, Abel Reyes, Michael Ghimenti, Angel Garcia, Jr. Garcia and Terry Brogdon all gained valuable experience with the Bulldogs during the summertime.

Ceres High's girls hosted summer-league games on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

The Bulldogs battled the Downey Knights, Hughson Huskies, Grace Davis Spartans, Oakdale Mustangs and Denair Coyotes under the watchful eyes of new head coach Vanessa Morris.

Morris replaced Shawna Nunes, who retired after leading Ceres High to a 365-142 overall record, one section championship, six league titles and 15 playoffs appearances in 18 seasons.

"I'm responsible for how my team acts and plays," Vanessa said. "I have high expectations. If I'm energetic, they're going to be energetic."

Morris inherits a program that's missed the playoffs three out of the last four years.

The Bulldogs return several key players, including Western Athletic Conference MVP Bryce Ford. Ford, a 5-foot-10 guard/forward, averaged 18.0 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists this past season.

Veteran Ashton Frampton, and newcomers Diana Salgado and Breanna Freitas will be counted upon as well.

"We have a young team," Vanessa said. "We just want to get better."

Central Valley's girls posted a 23-15 record while playing in the Modesto JC Summer League and three tournaments. The Hawks claimed their first-ever league title and postseason berth, and won 15 of 23 games during the 2010-11 school year. CV's junior-varsity team had a 22-2 overall record and finished in a tie for first place in the Western Athletic Conference.

"It's not like I have to start over," said Jesse Padilla, varsity head coach. "I have a good group coming back. Everyone's gunning for us. That's what happens when you're on top."

The Hawks bring back a wealth of talent, including Brittany Martinez, Diana Carmona and Vivien Fermil.

Newbie Mia Lorenzo starred on JV last season. She'll split playing time at guard with Carmona and Fermil.

Team leaders Myra Narnajo, Alyssa Long and Eva Noorzai graduated in June.

"They'll be missed but never forgotten," Padilla said.

Central Valley's boys played in the Escalon Summer League twice a week.

The Hawks received solid contributions from Camron Thornton, Miguel Rodriguez and Hawk Duarte.

"It would mean a lot to be successful," said Thornton, whose team struggled to an 11-16 record and last-place finish in the WAC standings (2-8) this past winter. "I think we'll be more competitive. We trust each other a lot more."