Central Valley’s and Ceres High’s varsity girls basketball teams will face off this Thursday at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.
“It’s going to be different from the last game,” Bulldogs head coach Kristen McClure said. “We know how they play. We’ll be ready for them.”
Central Valley (14-7, 7-2) escaped with a 45-42 win over visiting Ceres High (7-9, 4-5) on Jan. 22.
The Hawks appeared headed for a blowout win before the Bulldogs made the contest interesting.
Ceres High cut the deficit to 43-42 on a pair of free throws by Nicole Bates with 39 seconds left in regulation.
Mikayla Mabie’s final basket gave Central Valley a 45-42 lead with 27 seconds to play.
“I knew they were going to make a run,” Hawks head coach Jesse Padilla said.
Mabie led the Hawks in scoring with 17 points during the first meeting. Adriana Haynes and Lindsey Alexander had 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Bates led the Bulldogs in scoring with 14 points. She mustered just five points through the first three quarters while being guarded primarily by Central Valley’s Heaven Simon.
Ceres High’s Karina Ceja and Perla Vargas both had eight points.
The Hawks outscored the Bulldogs 25-17 in the opening half.
“It’s going to be a hard game,” said Haynes, a former Bulldog. “Coming from Ceres High, there is more added pressure. My teammates treat it like any other game. It’s going to take a lot of hard work. We have to play all four quarters.”
“It’s just another game we got to win,” said Padilla, whose team will secure a playoff berth if it beats Ceres High or Los Banos this week.
The Hawks have an all-time record of 7-10 versus the Bulldogs.
The crosstown contest will begin at 7:30 p.m.