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Davis defeats Lady Dawgs again
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The Ceres High varsity girls basketball team almost defeated Davis, the two-team, defending league champion, in Modesto on Saturday.

Cal-bound forward Ashley Walker had 21 points, 15 rebounds, five blocks, two steals and one assist, and Maria Sanchez and Belinda Vega buried back-to-back 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter to lift the Spartans to a 54-47 victory over the Bulldogs.

"We came out and played good tonight," said Ceres High senior point guard Heather Mazza. "We just turned it over and gave it up at the end."

Added Ceres High coach Shawna Nunes: "We just made some mistakes in the final two-and-a-half minutes. When we turned the ball over, we didn't give ourselves an opportunity to score."

Mazza led the Bulldogs with 16 points. Krystle Brown and Jessica Mazza scored 12 and six points, respectively. Meghan Franksen and Kelsey Sayad both had four points. Kristen McClure and Heather Jones added two points apiece.

Davis sophomore Angel Blanco tallied 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Sanchez, Vega and Tiffany Ashby combined for 19 points and 14 assists. Sanchez scored nine points and dished out six assists. Vega had six points and three assists. Ashby added four points and five assists.

"We didn't contain the other people," Nunes said. "She (Blanco) did a great job. She earned every point. They weren't easy ones. The next time we play them, we will be much more prepared."

The Bulldogs fell to 4-1 in the Modesto Metro Conference, 13-4 overall.

The Spartans improved to 5-0 in the league standings, 15-2 overall.

Davis has compiled a 10-0 record against the Bulldogs since 2001-02. That's when Walker became a Spartan. Davis beat Ceres four times last season.

"The bottom line is they have Ashley," Nunes said. "When you have the big horse, you ride that big horse. If I had her, I would be utilizing her every way I could."

The Bulldogs trailed 27-23 at halftime. Walker had 11 points. Blanco and Sanchez both had six points.

Heather Mazza had eight points. Brown and Jessica Mazza both had four points.

Davis outscored Ceres 27-24 in the second half.

Walker scored eight-straight points in the third quarter to give the Spartans a 42-37 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Ceres used a 6-0 run to get within one point, 48-47, with 2:34 remaining. Brown scored four points. Heather Mazza made a pair of free throws.

Davis scored the final six points of the game.

"When they hit that 3, it killed us," Mazza said.

Sanchez's 3-pointer put the Spartans ahead 51-47 with 1 minute, 40 seconds remaining.

Down by 4, Heather Mazza tried to dribble around a defender. The ball bounced off her right foot and out of bounds with 48.9 seconds remaining.

Vega sealed the win for the Spartans when she nailed a 3-pointer with 21 seconds left in regulation.

"This game there was a lot of pressure," Mazza said. "There was a lot of people watching.

"In the end, we panicked. We should be more patient next time."

Ceres and Davis will meet again next month. The Bulldogs and Spartans play twice at Ceres High School.

"I think we'll play better at home," Mazza said.

Said Nunes: "They're going to be two more really tough games. We're lucky we get to play them in the last game in league. It's going to get us ready for playoffs."

Ceres shot 30 percent (18-for-61) from the floor, 71 percent (10-for-14) from the free-throw line and committed 11 turnovers.

Davis shot 37 percent (22-for-60) from the floor, 86 percent (6-for-7) from the foul line and had 17 turnovers.

Ceres 73, Downey 52

Brown scored a game-high 24 points and McClure added 12 during the Bulldogs' 21-point victory over the Knights in Modesto on Thursday.

Ceres outscored Downey 31-10 in the first quarter and led by 31, 53-22, at the break.

Franksen and Heather Mazza both had seven points, and Jones, Jessica Mazza and Jennifer Arnold all scored five points for Ceres, which shot 72 percent (18-for-25) from the free-throw line.

Dawgs 49, Patriots 39

Assistant coach Phil de la Porte shook his head as members of the Ceres basketball team walked off the court and into the locker room.

The Bulldogs blew a six-point lead in the first quarter and trailed 25-22 at the break.

With Heather Mazza, Brown, Franksen and Jessica Mazza leading the way, Ceres outscored Beyer 27-14 in the second half en route to a 10-point victory.

Heather Mazza finished with a game-high 15 points. Brown, Franksen and Jessica Mazza had nine, six and five points, respectively.

Heather Mazza, Franksen and Jessica Mazza helped the Bulldogs turn a three-point deficit into a one-point lead, 37-36, in the third quarter. Heather Mazza had eight points. Franksen and Jessica Mazza scored four and three points, respectively.

The Bulldogs outscored the Patriots 12-3 in the fourth.

Ceres led 12-6 at the end of the first quarter. Arnold scored five points. Kelsey Sayad scored all eight of her points in the second quarter.

The Bulldogs shot 69 percent (11-for-16) from the foul line. The Patriots missed all five of their free-throw attempts.

Ceres plays at Modesto High on Friday at 7:15 p.m. and host to Johansen on Saturday at 4 p.m. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier