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Ceres High tops Pitman in season opener
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Kristen McClure scored 22 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, Jessica Mazza had 12 points and Jennifer Arnold added 10 points to lead the Ceres High varsity girls basketball team to a 59-46 victory over Pitman in a season opener on Tuesday, Nov. 22 in Ceres.

“I think we could have done better,” McClure said. “We have to work on our defense a little more.”

Erica Arellano and Heather Jones had six and five points, respectively, for the Bulldogs, who made four 3-pointers and shot 50 percent (11-for-22) from the free-throw line.

Ceres built a 19-12 lead in the first quarter. Down 12-10, the Bulldogs scored the final nine points. Brittany Lusk converted a free throw. Arnold hit back-to-back 3-pointers. Mazza made a basket.

Pitman outscored Ceres 13-8 in the second quarter and trailed 27-25 at intermission. The Pride accounted for 10 of the final 12 points.

McClure, Mazza, Jones and the Bulldogs went to work inside during the third quarter. They took control with a 13-1 run.

McClure scored eight straight points. She made three close-range jumpers and a layup.

“My teammates made most of that happen for me with good passes,” McClure said.

Mazza dribbled the ball the length of the floor and finished with her right hand. Then she took a charge and assisted on Jones' layup.

Jones made one of two free throws to push Ceres' lead to 40-26.

Pitman responded with an 11-3 run to close the third and cut Ceres' lead to 43-37 heading into the final quarter.

Ahead by six, the Bulldogs used an 8-2 run to extend their lead to 51-39 less than two minutes into the fourth. McClure scored off an inbounds pass from Arnold and converted the subsequent free throw. Arellano buried a 3-pointer from the left corner. Mazza made a steal and layup.

The Bulldogs outscored the Pride 8-7 in the final 5:10.

“Pitman played hard,” McClure said. “We played harder.” - By DALE BUTLER / Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier