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Ceres High boys finish first at home tourney for the 15th time
Ceres High School's varsity boys basketball team won three times in very different fashion while finishing in first place at the 33rd Ceres Holiday Tournament this past week at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

Ceres High claimed its 15th home tourney title.

The Bulldogs took first for the first time in eight years.

"It's something we haven't done in a long time," head coach Brian de la Porte said. "It's a good accomplishment. We've definitely taken a step in the right direction. We still have room to grow. We just got to keep working hard."

Ceres High's Jimbo Pernetti was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.

Bulldog teammates Harman Chung and Abel Reyes earned all-tourney honors.

"We'd be in trouble without Jimbo," de la Porte said. "He's a good, all-round player. He's just a tough matchup. Harman gives us a presence inside. Abel's getting better. We'd have a tough time getting the ball up the court without him. He handles the ball 95 percent of the time."

Ceres High extended its winning streak to five games with a 52-46 win over Pitman in the finals on Saturday.

Pernetti poured in 20 points.

Chung and Caden Johnson tallied 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Reyes and Junior Garcia netted four points each.

Jimmy Bates had two points.

The Bulldogs converted 14 of 18 free throws.

Ceres High held a 42-30 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Ceres High erased a seven-point deficit in the final 90 seconds of regulation during Friday's 46-43 victory against Oakdale.

Pernetti collected 13 points.

Garcia, Reyes, Chung and Johnson contributed 12, eight, five, four points, respectively.

Bates and Michael Ghimenti both added two points.

The Bulldogs stunned the Mustangs with a 10-0 run down the stretch.

Pernetti made a layup and two free throws.

Johnson and Reyes both scored inside.

Junior Garcia buried a jumper.

"It was a great comeback," de la Porte said. "The kids are fighting. They're not giving up."

Ceres High eased past Delhi, 66-44, in the opening round on Thursday.

Pernetti totaled 21 points.

Chung and Johnson scored 14 and 13 points, respectively.

Garcia and Ghimenti finished with six points apiece.

Reyes (one point), Angel Garcia (three points) and Terry Brogdon (two points) chipped in as well.

The Bulldogs led 41-15 at halftime.

"We've won five games in a row," de la Porte said. "We still got some things we need to improve on. We need to play more consistent defense and rebound better."

Ceres High (6-5) will compete in Central Valley High School's eight-team tournament, Dec. 27-29.

The Bulldogs and Hawks could meet in the finals.

"I'd love for that to happen," de la Porte said. "Our side of the bracket is so tough."

Ceres High will face Brookside Christian in the opening round on Thursday at 3 p.m.