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Central Valley girls make first-ever postseason appearance
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Central Valley High School fielded its first-ever varsity girls basketball team in 2006-07.

The Hawks struggled to a 2-21 overall record and finished in last place in the Valley Oak League standings (0-14).

Central Valley lost 41 of 60 games from 2007-10.

The Hawks reached record heights this year by claiming their first-ever league title and playoff berth.

"I still can't believe it," said Alyssa Long, a fourth-year player. "It's a good feeling to see everything come together."

Long and sophomore post player Brittany Martinez both scored a team-high nine points during Central Valley's 64-32 loss to Capital Valley Conference champion Bella Vista in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs on Tuesday, Feb. 22.

Myra Naranjo, Geena Wade, Diana Carmona and Penny Chanthavong contributed five, four, three and two points, respectively.

The Broncos (22-5, 10-0) dashed the Hawks' upset bid by dominating early. Bella Vista outscored Central Valley 16-7 in the first period on its way to building a 31-18 lead in the opening half.

Long and the Hawks remained upbeat despite the lopsided loss.

"I told them to hold their heads up high and be happy," Central Valley head coach Jesse Padilla said. "We set team goals at the beginning of the season and checked them off one at a time. It was a fun ride."

The Hawks accomplished several firsts this year, including beating crosstown-rival Ceres High. Central Valley had an 0-8 record versus the Bulldogs before winning twice.

The Hawks (15-8, 8-2) clinched a share of the WAC title and qualified for the playoffs with an impressive 48-28 victory over Ceres High during the final day of the regular season.

Long and fellow seniors Naranjo and Eva Noorzai provided valuable leadership throughout the year.

Alyssa was Central Valley's most versatile player.

Myra led the Hawks in scoring with a 10.5-point-per-game average. "They were my 1-2-3 punch," Padilla said.

Martinez chipped in on both offense and defense after being promoted from the frosh-team team late in the preseason. Brittany averaged 7.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. She'll be asked to do more next year.

"She was a huge help," Padilla said.