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CHS challenges CC
Ceres High School's varsity boys basketball team gained confidence in defeat last week.

The new-look Bulldogs erased an 11-point deficit before fading down the stretch in a 61-40 loss to prohibitive Western Athletic Conference favorite Central Catholic Friday night in Ceres.

"It was a good effort by the kids," Bulldogs head coach Brian de la Porte said. "We competed. I'm not sure we gave them our best shot. I think we have more in us."

Ceres High dropped to 3-14 overall and 1-1 in conference play.

Central Catholic moved to 14-3 and 2-0.

Binder Atwal scored a game-high 21 points for the Bulldogs, who shot 76 percent (22 of 29) from the free-throw line. Jimbo Pernetti, Harman Chung and Haydon Turpin added eight, six and five points, respectively.

Six-foot-9 John Fenton led the Raiders with 17 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks.

Kyler Wilson had 14 points. Donovin Townsend added 12 points.

The Bulldogs had no presence inside after 6-foot-4 post players Nava and Chung both fouled out in the second half.

"We struggled without the big guys," de la Porte said.

Atwal also missed parts of the second and third periods with a sprained ankle.

"We taped it and he toughed it out," de la Porte said.

Ceres High fell behind 19-8 in the first quarter.

The Bulldogs trailed by just five points, 39-34, at the end of the third quarter.

"We settled down on defense," de la Porte said. "We were patient on offense. They got us in the end. Even though we lost, we're getting our swagger back. We're gaining confidence."

The Raiders used a 22-6 run to finish off the Bulldogs.

Ceres High opened the WAC campaign with a 76-56 win over visiting Pacheco on Wednesday.

Atwal was unstoppable on offense. He totaled a game-high 27 points.

Pernetti tallied 22 points.

Turpin, Nava and Chung had nine, seven and four points, respectively.

Caden Johnson and Abel Reyes both scored two points.

The Bulldogs stormed to a 22-9 lead in the first quarter.

Ceres High graduated four starters from last year's WAC championship squad.

"The kids are working hard," said de la Porte, whose team lost 13 of 15 games during the preseason. "They're getting better."

The Bulldogs will play at Los Banos today. The WAC affair will begin at 7:30 p.m.