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CV girls sweep CHS, win Western Athletic Conference title outright
Central Valley High School's varsity girls basketball team won the Western Athletic Conference championship outright with a 47-41 win over upset-minded Ceres High on senior night on Feb. 16.

The visiting Bulldogs (9-15, 4-8) nearly played spoiler against the Hawks (19-6, 10-2).

"We had the lead and all of a sudden they came back and were up by one," Central Valley post player Valerie Olide said. "I was really nervous. We didn't want to share the league title with Los Banos again."

"We're happy that a team from Ceres Unified School District is the league champion," Ceres High head coach Vanessa Morris said. "They have eight seniors on their team. It's hard to deal with that kind of experience."

Olide and fellow upperclassmen Diana Carmona, Vivien Fermil, Penny Chanthavong, Cynthia Andrade, Melinda Camarillo, Geena Wade and Amanda Wheeler were presented flowers and balloons before the start of the crosstown game.

Olide led the Hawks in scoring with 17 points.

Carmona, Fermil and Martinez tallied nine, eight and six points, respectively.

Chanthavong had one point.

Junior standout Bryce Ford scored a game-high 22 points for Ceres High.

Ashton Frampton, Jessica Ellsworth and Breanna Freitas tallied 10, seven and two points, respectively.

Central Valley had an eight-point lead at the end of the third quarter.

Ceres High made the contest interesting in the final period thanks to a 10-0 run in the opening two-plus minutes. Ford had seven points, including a go-ahead trey that made it 35-33 at the 5:38 mark.

Fermil hit two free throws to even the score at 35-all.

Carmona's jumper from the right wing put the Hawks ahead by two points, 37-35, with 4:53 to play.

Frampton's 3-point bank shot gave the Bulldogs a 38-37 lead 20 seconds later.

A 10-3 run by Central Valley in the final 2:55 dashed Ceres High's hopes of an upset. Olide had six points. Martinez and Carmona contributed two points each.

Frampton buried her third 3-pointer of the game at the buzzer.

Central Valley outscored Ceres High 20-19 in the opening half.

The Hawks trailed 15-11 at the end of the first quarter. Ford had 10 points for the Bulldogs. Carmona hit a half-court shot at the buzzer.

"I thought we were going to win because we were doing so good in the beginning," Bryce said. "We competed. We never gave up."

Added Morris: "They gave me everything they possibly could. I'm very proud of them."

Central Valley upped its all-time record versus the Bulldogs to 5-8. Central Valley has won the last five meetings.

"Before, it wasn't like this," Olide said. "We'd always lose to them."

Central Valley won its first-ever league title during the 2010-11 school year.

The Hawks successfully defended their WAC crown. Central Valley finished one game ahead of Los Banos (9-3) in the conference standings.

"Everyone said we weren't going to be able to do it again," stated Olide, who missed her junior season due to academic issues. "We proved everybody wrong. I was glad I was a part of it this year."

Central Valley was guaranteed no worse than a share of the WAC crown following its thrilling 52-49 victory against Los Banos two nights earlier in Ceres.

The 14th-seeded Hawks lost 74-34 to No. 3 McNair (24-3, 8-2) in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs on Feb. 21.