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Ceres High's varsity girls basketball program has been a model of consistency since head coach Shawna Nunes' arrival in 1993-94. The Bulldogs have amassed a 314-103 record, won one section title, claimed six league championships and secured 14 straight postseason berths and non-losing campaigns.

Ceres will have its work cut out this year in trying to notch its 15th consecutive playoff berth with a revamped lineup. Kristen McClure and Heather Jones aren't around to help the Bulldogs. The recent graduates did their part to carry on Ceres' winning tradition. Jones led the Bulldogs in scoring with 17.1 points per game. McClure ranked second on the team in scoring (15.9 ppg) and first in rebounding (11.6 rpg).

"For us being as young as we are, our goal is to improve and win more games than we lose," Nunes said.

Added junior point guard and tri-captain Brittany Lusk: "Even last year everybody thought we weren't going to do well. And we did. New people will have to step up this year."

If the Bulldogs make history again, it will be because of the play of returnees Lusk, Kaylee Brown (senior) and Jode Johnson (sophomore).

"This year, it's different," Nunes said. "The majority of our players were role players (last season)."

Lusk made the All-Valley Oak League defense team as a sophomore. She will play a major role on both ends of the court this year.

Brown spent the latter part of last season on the bench with an injured right ankle. A healthy Kaylee has the potential to average double figures in both scoring and rebounding at center.

Johnson will do just about everything for the Bulldogs. The extremely athletic and versatile guard/forward totaled 21 points and 12 rebounds in a 45-37 victory against Atwater in the first round of the Ceres Lions Club Tournament during the preseason.

"I've been a defensive player for the last two years," Lusk said. "This year, I have to score more. If I just relax, I play well."

Ceres High must also receive contributions from the rest of its players, including Chelsea Lomeli (senior), Cassie Rayford (senior), Tiffany Burnett (junior), Aimee Gunzenhauser (junior), Amy Raymond (sophomore), Lilibeth Jaimes (freshman), Stephanie Yankovich (freshman) and Jamie Beck (freshman).

"We have a young team this year, which means we're going to have a better team in the future because of that experience," Lusk said.

On the verge of missing the postseason for the first time since Nunes took over, Ceres won its final four games in 2006-07 to secure the No. 14 seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs.

The Bulldogs finished in a tie for fourth-place in the VOL with Oakdale (8-6) and posted an 18-9 overall record.

Ceres will need a similar type of performance in conference play this year to lock up a spot in the playoffs.

Sonora, East Union and Sierra were picked to finish atop the VOL standings in a Morris Multimedia Poll conducted last week by writers from the Manteca Bulletin, Ceres Courier and Oakdale Leader.

"Our league isn't going to be super strong," said Nunes, who will have one of the youngest teams in the VOL as five of her 11 players are underclassmen. "We're all kind of rebuilding. In the coming years, it's going to be really tough."

Said Lusk: "We have a very quick team, which is an advantage, even though we're short. We're well-disciplined. We're a great defensive team."

Ceres High's blue-collar approach to basketball has produced amazing results.

Just 14 girls programs in the Sac-Joaquin Section have playoff streaks of 14 years or more: Bret Harte (28), Colfax (26), Ripon Christian (24), Forest Lake (23), El Camino (20), Bear River (19), Rio Americano (18), St. Francis (18), Sonora (18), Justin Siena (17), Patterson (16), Del Oro (16), Lodi (14) and Ceres (14).

The Bulldogs captured the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II title in 2004-05 with a 57-46 victory over Vacaville at Arco Arena.

The blue banner hangs on a wall inside Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

Lusk takes great pride in competing for Ceres High.

"It feels good," said Brittany, a third-year varsity member. She was in the eighth grade during the Bulldogs' historical run.