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CHS coaches evaluate talent
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Shawna Nunes operated the scoreboard during the Ceres High girls basketball team's 53-33 win over Hughson Thursday night at Blaker-Kinser Jr. High School. Nunes relegated summer-league head coaching duties to Kassi Baker.

"We still have a long ways to go," said Nunes, who's guided the varsity Bulldogs for the past 12 seasons.

Ceres' Kristen McClure, Heather Jones, Jessica Mazza, Jennifer Arnold and Jordan Nash totaled 39 points against the Huskies. McClure finished with a game-high 15 points. Jones, Mazza, Arnold and Nash scored nine, eight, five and two points, respectively.

"I'm really impressed with how the starting five played," Baker said. "They worked really well together."

Reserves Erica Arellano, Crystal Perez and Kyleesha Williams also contributed. Arellano, Perez and Williams addd eight, four and two points, respectively, for the Bulldogs, who improved to 7-2 overall.

Ceres led by 10, 23-13, at halftime.

"We really have to work on our defense," Baker said. "That has to be our strong point. We're a short team."

After the game, Nunes talked about the future of Ceres High basketball.

"It's always an adjustment in the summers," she said.

The Bulldogs must reload. Five players graduated, including Krystle Brown, Heather Mazza, Meghan Franksen, Kelsey Sayad and Donna Zaragoza. Brown, Mazza, Franksen and Sayad started.

"We're still going to be successful," said Nunes, who has led the Bulldogs to 12 straight playoff appearances. Ceres captured the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II title in 2004-05.

Nunes had a revamped lineup following the 1998-99 season. She lost five players, including Shannon Donnelly, Delise Young, Natalia Kortisova, Amy Cucinella and Amber Maldonado. They guided Ceres to a second-place finish in the section.

The following year, Reshundra Smiley, Courtne Evans and Keyasha Brothern took charge. Smiley, Evans, Brothern and the Bulldogs went 19-11 overall, 10-3 in league and secured a berth in the postseason.

Brown, Mazza, Franksen and Sayad continued Ceres' winning tradition. Now, the torch has been passed to three seniors, Jessica Mazza, Jennifer Arnold and Jordan Nash, and two juniors, Kristen McClure and Heather Jones.

Mazza, Arnold and McClure will carry the scoring load. Nash and Jones will also play key roles too.

Mazza, Arnold, McClure and Jones have all shined this summer.

"Jennifer and Jessica are playing extremely well," Nunes said.

McClure has been a dominant force in the post. She's reached double figures in scoring in just about every game.

Jones has been an efficient playmaker. Her defense has led to a host of easy buckets. She's also posed a threat from the outside.

Nash met with Nunes recently to discus her role. Nash will be expected to do more for the team in 2005-06.

"These girls are going to get better," Nunes said. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier