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Central Valley girls make history
Central Valley High School's varsity girls basketball team earned its first conference victory in its two-year history last week.

The Hawks snapped a 20-game losing streak by upsetting Manteca 44-43 in Valley Oak League play on Tuesday, Jan. 22 at Winter Gymnasium. Central Valley's Julie Calderon buried a turn-around jumper from near the free-throw line as time expired to stun the Buffaloes.

"It's the best feeling ever," Calderon said after her teammates and coaches swarmed her following the clutch shot. "It wasn't even supposed to come to me."

Added Hawks head coach Jesse Padilla: "It was like watching a clip of a movie in slow motion."

Calderon scored a game-high 22 points. All evening Manteca head coach Andrea Hiatt warned her players just how good Central Valley's point guard is.

"I thought we had it under control," Hiatt said. "(Calderon) is a great player, we knew she was going to get the shot and she made it.

"It's one of those things where you sit here scratching your head wondering what happened."

Hiatt's postgame bewilderment wasn't surprising considering the Buffaloes had stormed back from a sloppy first half and controlled the contest for all but the final moments of the second half.

But Calderon hit a 3-pointer with a minute left that pulled the Hawks to within three, and Phylicia Martinez' layup with half a minute left made it 43-42 Buffs, setting up Calderon's last-second heroics.

"We anticipated everything (down the stretch)," Calderon said. "We were tight on our defense and we were working on our offense, trying to move the ball around and get the extra shot."

The Hawks had built a 21-18 halftime lead on the strength of six Latrisha Jordan steals -turned - fastbreaks, most of which came as a result of sloppy open-court passing on the part of Manteca.

"We were telegraphing everything," Hiatt said. "It was like, "Here's the ball, come and get it.'"

The Buffs missed five-of-six shots from beyond the arc to close the half, and at times looked completely disinterested on the court.

But all that changed after a visibly heated Hiatt led her team into the locker room. After the break Manteca converted 10 of its first 13 shots from the post.

"We were trying to work the ball in and out a little more (after halftime)," Hiatt said. "It worked, we were able to score from inside."

The Buffs scored 19 total in the third, turning a 3-point halftime deficit into a 37-32 lead heading into the final frame.

In the fourth the action got chippy and Manteca was whistled for two technical fouls, both of which resulted in a pair of made Calderon free throws.

"I'm not going to downplay (Central Valley), we knew they were a good team. They're athletic, they hustle," Hiatt said. "Technicals at the end of the game didn't help. They were hitting their free throws.

"It wasn't supposed to work out that way tonight, but that's basketball."

Cassie Gause paced the 4-4 Buffs with 16 points, while Jade Tamarra had 12 and Cynthia Perez netted seven.

Martinez finished with 14 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks for the 1-7 Hawks.

"The girls realize they can compete with anybody if they work together," Padilla said.