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Hawks hammer Cougars
Central Valley High School's varsity girls basketball team turned in its best defensive performance of the season in a 53-37 victory over Escalon Thursday night in Ceres.

"They were swarming like bees," Hawks head coach Jesse Padilla said.

Julie Calderon, Alyssa Long and Amanda Lopez combined for 40 points to lead Central Valley, which improved to 4-4 on the year.

Calderon dropped in a game-high 17 points.

Long had 13 points, while Lopez added 10.

Whitney Richardson, Jessica Rodriguez and Ashley Aremenio chipped in five, four and three points, respectively, for the Hawks. Gisselle Mendoza contributed one point.

Central Valley pulled away with a 22-8 surge in the third quarter. Calderon erupted for 14 points.

"We kept the momentum up after halftime," she said.

With his team comfortably ahead, coach Padilla benched four of his five starters for the entire fourth period. Rodriguez remained in the game. She was joined by Armenio, Mendoza, Gisselle Villegas and Samantha Mustaca.

"I told them I wasn't going to substitute if Escalon made a run," Padilla said. "If we couldn't hold a 21-point lead, we didn't deserve to win."

Added Calderon: "It was fun watching them play. They did really good."

Central Valley won via blowout despite competing shorthanded.

Phylicia Martinez (bruised tailbone) and Gigi Sahota (stretched posterior cruciate ligament) didn't play due to injuries.

Miranda Espinoza rolled an ankle in the second quarter and was lost for the remainder of the contest.

Central Valley will play in the Turlock High tournament on Saturday, Monday, Dec. 29 and Tuesday, Dec. 30.