By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Ceres High boys avoid another letdown
It's become a familiar scenario for Ceres High School's varsity boys basketball team.

The Bulldogs hang tough for three quarters, then struggle during crunch time.

Ceres High avoided a late-game letdown during Friday night's 63-58 triumph at Weston Ranch.

"The kids were attacking and not turning the ball over," Bulldogs head coach Brian de la Porte said. "We got some stops on defense. Overall, we did a good job."

Eliminated from postseason contention, Ceres High embraced its role of spoiler.

The Bulldogs (11-12 overall, 5-7 VOL) beat the Cougars (12-11, 8-4) for the second time this year.

Weston Ranch, which entered the week ranked No. 11 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III power ratings, now finds itself on the playoff bubble after three consecutive losses.

"We've had success against them the last few times we played," de la Porte said. "Our zone defense has been pretty effective. We've stopped them from penetrating."

Ceres High senior guard Justin Canatsy scored nine of his team-high 16 points in the final period. John Dhillon buried three treys and totaled 15 points. Tyler Cummings, Katero Lebeau and Edgar Lopez finished with 10, seven and six points, respectively. Lance Hunter and George Borden both had four points. Mark Schwark added two points.

Ceres High never trailed after intermission.

The Bulldogs outscored the Cougars 17-15 in the fourth quarter. Ceres High converted six of their seven free throws.

"We tried to slow them down," de la Porte said. "They're such a good team when they're running."

CHS challenges Manteca

Last Wednesday, the Bulldogs were outscored 20-9 in the final period of their 64-52 road loss to the first-place Buffaloes.

Ceres High had similar collapses against Sonora, Sierra and East Union the previous week.

"It happens," de la Porte said. "We just got to suck it up in the fourth quarter, get stops and execute. If you can't do that, you're not going to win."

Canatsy had a team-high 19 points for Ceres High. Dhillon had 18, including four 3-pointers. Lebeau, Cummings, Schwark and Hunter added six, four, three and two points, respectively.

Kiwi Gardner, Manteca's standout junior guard, racked up a game-high 25 points.

E.J. Godfrey and Ernie Pimentel also scored in double figures for the Buffaloes. Godfrey had 13, while Pimentel added 11.

The Bulldogs faced a 12-point deficit early in the game.

Ceres High battled back by outplaying Manteca in the middle periods (33-24 scoring advantage).

The Bulldogs took their first lead of the second half with just over six minutes to play.

Gardner and the Buffaloes dominated down the stretch.

Kiwi made seven free throws, a 3-pointer and a layup.

"We did a great job getting back in the game," de la Porte said. "We could have been up by six points early in the fourth quarter but didn't execute on the offensive end. You hit dry spells and it can cost you."

Ceres High missed 12 layups during the course of the game.

The Bulldogs will play host to Oakdale on Breast Cancer Awareness Night this Friday. The gym will be decorated in pink. Players will wear pink shoe laces and wristbands. Coaches will don pink. Fans are being asked to participate as well.

"We all wanted to make the playoffs," de la Porte said. "It looks like we're going to be a couple games short. We still have a chance to finish the season with a winning record. We got three more games. We're going to do our best."