By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Hawks endure
Tears welled up in Julie Calderon's eyes when the final buzzer sounded. Central Valley High School's 31-30 loss to crosstown rival Ceres High in varsity girls basketball on Feb. 14 at Phil de la Porte marked the end of an emotional season.

"I'm proud of all of them," Hawks head coach Jesse Padilla said.

Calderon and her teammates, Phylicia Martinez, Marissa Cabusas, Latrisha Jordan, Alyssa Long, Whitney Richardson, Brooke Davis, Erica Marmolejo and Giselle Mendoza, should be commended for their efforts.

The Hawks played their best basketball after five players, including two starters, were kicked off the team for disciplinary reasons a week-and-a-half into the VOL season.

"The first game without them was really tough," said junior guard Calderon, who finished with a season-low two points in a 55-34 loss at Oakdale on Jan. 15.

On Jan. 22, Central Valley broke into the win column for the first time in its two-year history by upsetting Manteca 44-43 at Winter Gym. Calderon buried a turn-around jumper from near the foul line as time expired to stun the Buffaloes, who later qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs. The win snapped a 20-game losing streak. Calderon led the way with 22 points, three steals and two assists. Martinez, a sophomore center, added 14 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks.

On Feb. 7, Martinez, Calderon, Cabusas and Long helped propel the Hawks past visiting Oakdale 53-45. Martinez had 19 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks and two steals for Central Valley, which avenged a 21-point loss to the Mustangs. Calderon tallied 12 points, six assists and six rebounds. Cabusas, a senior guard, added 10 points and 14 rebounds. Long, a freshman forward-guard, contributed five points and seven rebounds. Jordan, a senior forward, added three points, 11 rebounds, five assists and four steals.

Central Valley showed a lot of fight in losing twice by a combined eight points to Ceres High.

The Hawks rallied from a 10-point third-quarter deficit before succumbing 45-38 to the visiting Bulldogs on Jan. 17. Calderon poured in 12 of her team-high 14 points after intermission for Central Valley, which led 28-27 heading into the fourth.

When asked how his team was able to carry on through difficult times, Padilla said: "The girls realized that I couldn't sub two or three at a time. They all had to step up their game or we were going to get blown out. They had to go above and beyond."

"You work twice as hard when you don't have any extra help," Martinez said.

The Hawks prided themselves on their togetherness. A few of the girls even switched positions.

"We all could depend on each other on the court," Calderon said.

"The communication on the floor was 10 times better than it was before," Padilla said.

Short-handed Central Valley posted a 6-19 overall record on the year, tripling its win total from its inaugural varsity season. The Hawks finished last in the VOL at 2-12.

Calderon averaged 12.3 points, 3.1 assists and 2.2 steals per game in 2007-08. Jordan ranked first on the team in rebounding (10.1) and steals (2.6). Martinez was second in scoring (7.1) and rebounding (9.1). Cabusas contributed 7.2 rebounds and 3.1 points per contest. Long added 5.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.4 assists.

Calderon, Martinez, Long and Mendoza will return to the team in 2008-09.