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Disappointing loss
Greg Mathews pulled his jersey over his head while Oakdale High celebrated its thrilling 52-50 win against Central Valley in varsity boys basketball last Friday in Ceres.

Mathews and the Hawks had good reason to be disappointed as the feisty Mustangs stormed back from a 14-point deficit.

"Everybody started slacking off and stopped doing their job," Central Valley point guard Keymonte Wooten said. "We got big-headed."

Wooten scored a game-high 17 points for the Hawks, who dropped to 3-9 in the Valley Oak League standings. Ronnie McNeal had seven points. Martin Gomez and Chris Beleele collected six points each. Mathews, Gary Ney, Salinder Singh and Paul Sidhu contributed five, four, three and two points, respectively.

Tanner Combs poured in a team-high 14 points for the Mustangs (3-9 VOL). Robert Stout and Justin Melo added 10 and seven points, respectively.

Central Valley dominated in the early going before Oakdale roared back.

The Mustangs cut a 27-13 deficit to five in the second quarter.

"I actually thought we'd win by 20 or 30," Central Valley head coach Darryl Dickson said. "But we started to get complacent after we got a lead. Our execution was very poor. We stopped playing with a purpose."

Oakdale outscored Central Valley 25-18 in the second half.

Wooten, who was hounded by several Mustang defenders each time he touched the ball on the offensive end, totaled just seven points after intermission.

"I started getting double-teamed and I wasn't getting open looks," Keymonte said. "They were pushing me around. It threw me off."

Wooten and the Hawks were held scoreless for four-plus minutes in the fourth quarter.

The Mustangs accounted for five of the contest's final seven points.

"I guess they did want it more than us," Keymonte said. "We were making too many mistakes. They were hustling."

Central Valley still had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation.

Ney buried both of his free throws to pull the Hawks within two with 11 seconds to play.

Central Valley's final possession resulted in a turnover as Gary's inbounds pass to Wooten was stolen in the waning seconds.

"We didn't lose the game on that play," Dickson said. "We had the lead and let down. That comes with inexperience. That's our No. 1 issue. Some of the guys are not used to playing."

The Hawks shot a horrendous 41 percent (12 of 29) from the charity stripe against the Mustangs.