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Central Valley girls fall short of lofty expectations
Central Valley High School's varsity girls basketball program had high hopes for the 2012-13 season.

The Hawks fell short of both of their goals.

Central Valley failed to claim its third straight Western Athletic Conference title and Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berth.

"We should have done better," head coach Jesse Padilla said. "It just didn't work out."

The Hawks closed out the year with a 47-32 loss to Central Catholic on Senior Night in Ceres on Feb. 13.

Brittany Martinez scored a team-high eight points for Central Valley, which compiled an 11-14 record and placed fourth in the WAC standings (6-6).

Mia Lorenzo added seven points.

Catrina Castillo, Tamara Uti and Casey McCloskey all contributed three points.

Jessica Martinez, Veronica Duarte, Bianca Zuniga and Emily Rivas finished with two points apiece.

Margaret Gallo scored a game-high 32 points for the Raiders, who improved to 16-7 on the year, finished second in the WAC (8-4) and qualified for the Division-V playoffs.

"They already made playoffs," Padilla said. "It was a tune-up game for them. We couldn't stop Gallo. We just didn't show up to play."

Central Valley's lineup at tipoff featured four seniors (Brittany, Catrina, Jessica and Vanessa Dias) and one junior (Lorenzo).

"I wanted to let them start in front of their parents," Padilla said.

The Hawks mustered just two points in the opening eight minutes and trailed 29-11 heading into the second half.

"They were focused," Padilla said. "They were on fire. We couldn't put the ball in the hoop. I couldn't figure out what was going on. It was unbelievable."

Central Valley players will start attending conditioning and weight-lifting sessions later this month. The Hawks will have a full schedule of games during the summertime.

"Everything gets going in two weeks," Padilla said.

Central Valley High School junior-varsity girls basketball players showed a debt of gratitude when they presented a signed team photo and Starbucks gift card to head coach Kevin Dupree following last week's season finale.

The Hawks closed out the 2012-13 campaign with a 35-27 win over Central Catholic on Tuesday, Feb. 12 in Ceres.

"I was surprised," Dupree said. "I really wasn't expecting it."

JV Hawks finish second in WAC

Central Valley compiled an 18-5 record and finished in second place in the Western Athletic Conference (10-2). The Hawks lost twice to Livingston in league play. Central Valley dropped two games to Enochs and one to Beyer.

"I didn't have any expectations for this group at the beginning of the year," Dupree said. "I'm very pleased with our overall play. They worked well together."

Lynaya Lerma and Lindsay Alexander both scored a team-high eight points against Central Valley.

Melissa Afortunado and Jewel Miranda tallied seven points each.

Heaven Simon and Princess Pe had three and two points, respectively.

Down 19-14 at halftime, Central Valley outscored Central Catholic 13-4 in the third quarter.

The Hawks limited the Raiders to four points in the final period.

Central Valley attempted 10 free throws after intermission. The Hawks went to the foul-line just six times during the opening half.

"We stopped shooting jump shots and attacked the basket," Dupree said.

Central Valley managed to score just three points in the first quarter.

"Teams prepare to play you better the second game," Dupree said.

Dupree, a former standout basketball player at Ceres High, enjoyed his first year of coaching with crosstown-rival Central Valley.

"It's a year they will never forget," Dupree said. "I'd love to come back next season. I had a lot of fun with my team. We joked around but we knew when to get serious."