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CHS teams qualify for postseason
The Sac-Joaquin Section released its playoff brackets for varsity basketball on Wednesday.

Ceres High's boys and girls teams were both awarded berths to the Division-III tournament.

Head coaches Brian de la Porte (boys) and Vanessa Morris (girls) exchanged congratulatory messages.

"I'm excited for the girls," said Morris, second-year leader of the Bulldogs. "We work hard. My team never gives up. They're exhausted after games."

Added de la Porte: "It's nice we're playing a team we're familiar with. It's one game. Anything can happen."


The 15th-seeded Bulldogs will travel to Manteca today to face second-seeded Sierra.

"We're definitely looking forward to the challenge that is in front of us," de la Porte said. "Sierra's the standard. They have the best program in the area. But they're not invincible."

Ceres High, 14-12 overall and third in the Western Athletic Conference (7-5), will be led by Jimbo Pernetti, Harman Chung and Angel Reyes.

The Timberwolves, 23-4 and co-champions of the Valley Oak League (13-1), will be led by Guillermo Nunez, Eric Melgar and Justin Patton.

"It's going to be fun to see how we stack up against a good team like that," Pernetti said. "They have really good coaching. They're always tough and aggressive. We got nothing to lose. The pressure is on them."

Ceres High lost 60-38 to Sierra during the preseason.

The Bulldogs trailed by just two points, 12-10, at the end of the first quarter.

Sierra outscored Ceres High 37-14 in the second and third periods.

"We're a different team now," Pernetti said. "We know our roles and what we need to do to win. We just have to keep our intensity high for all four quarters. We have to limit our turnovers. We have to play as a team. That's the main thing."

Ceres High has compiled an 0-6 record versus Sierra under de la Porte's guidance.

"They're fundamental, well-coached and play hard," said de la Porte, who watched game film from the Dec. 1 meeting between the two teams. "We're going to have to battle for 32 minutes."

The Bulldogs last participated in the playoffs in 2010-11. Pernetti, a sophomore at the time, scored two points in a 65-45 loss to Foothill.

"I'm just excited we're in," de la Porte said.

Ceres High and Sierra will face off at 7 p.m.

"When any Ceres team is in the playoffs, a lot of people come to watch," de la Porte said. "We'll have a lot of support."

"Having the support of the city is a big factor," Pernetti added. "The whole crowd won't be against us."


Ceres High returns to the postseason following a three-year absence.

The 14th-seeded Bulldogs will travel to Sacramento on Tuesday, Feb. 19 to take on No. 3 Rio Americano.

"It's nice to keep the program going," said Morris, who led Ceres High to three playoff appearances during her four seasons as a player with the Bulldogs in the 1990s. "We're not satisfied with just making it. We have to play a great game."

Ceres High, 11-8 overall and third in the WAC (7-5), will be led by fourth-year varsity player Bryce Ford, freshman Nicole Bates and sophomore Ryleigh Honberger.

Bates would be in the running for the conference MVP award if the Bulldogs finished higher in the standings.

"She (Nicole) took a lot of pressure off Bryce and the other players," Morris said.

The Raiders, 24-3 and first in the Capital Athletic League (10-0), will be led by Elizabeth Moulton, Daizy Wilson and Emily Hansen.

Rio Americano likes to press on defense.

"We have to be efficient with the basketball, handle the press and run on them," Morris said. "We'll be ready to work when we get there."