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Cats, Buffs cool off Dawgs in VOL play
Ceres High's varsity girls basketball team rode a wave of momentum into last week.

Winners of their last five games, the Bulldogs suffered back-to-back losses to Sonora and Manteca in Valley Oak League play.

Ceres High dropped to 11-13 on the year and 7-5 in the conference standings. The Bulldogs also saw their playoff hopes take a hit.

"We played hard but not as sharp as in the games that we won," Bulldogs head coach Shawna Nunes said.

Competing with a seven-player roster, Sonora defeated Ceres High 58-48 on Thursday at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

The Wildcats (14-9, 9-3) outscored the Bulldogs in every quarter except the fourth.

"They're solid all the way around," said Nunes, whose team trailed 48-36 at the end of the third period.

Gunzenhauser led Ceres High with 21 points. Johnson, Beck and Leah Rose added 14, 11 and two points, respectively.

Sonora had three players score in double figures, including Larissa Rosenfield (16), Kelli Keefe (11) and Britney Malone (10).

The Bulldogs lost 45-41 to the Buffaloes at Winter Gym on Tuesday, Feb. 10.

Johnson scored 10 of her game-high 19 points in the second quarter.

Beck had 11 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.

Gunzenhauser added nine points.

Sharon Washington led Manteca with 20 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Davina Bennett collected 12 points and five rebounds.

The Buffaloes outscored the Bulldogs 41-33 during the final three quarters of play.

Ceres High entered the week tied for second with Sonora in the VOL standings and No. 14 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III power ratings.

The Bulldogs will wrap up their regular season schedule with games against visiting Weston Ranch on Tuesday, Feb. 17 and host Central Valley on Thursday.

Playoff berths will be awarded later this week. The top 16 teams in the section advance to the postseason.

"The players know if we win both games, we have a chance at playoffs," Nunes said. "We'd like to give them that game. This particular group has never made it."