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Hawks show heart in defeat
The game appeared over.

Sparked by Lizette Covarrubias' clutch shooting and stellar team defense, Central Valley High School's AAU girls basketball club battled back from a 17-point deficit only to fall short in a 41-39 loss to Liberty High School of Brentwood in Modesto Junior College summer league play Wednesday night.

"Even though we lost, we're still happy," Covarrubias said. "We played a really great game in the second half."

Lizette scored six straight points, including two mid-range jumpers from the left baseline, during a momentum-swaying 21-5 run after intermission. Her second basket pulled Central Valley within one point, 36-35, with 2:02 remaining.

Lizette earned a promotion from the JV squad earlier in the week.

"I told her to go out there and have fun," Hawks coach Jesse Padilla said. "She did really well. She held her own."

Central Valley trailed 23-12 at the break. Corinne Costa, Liberty's 6-foot-4-inch center, dominated on both ends of the floor.

The Hawks outscored the Lions 27-18 in the second half. Julie Calderon had seven points. Covarrubias, Eva Noorzai, Amanda Lopez and Miranda Espinoza contributed six, five, four and three points, respectively. Gigi Sahota added two points.

Central Valley had several chances to tie and/or take the lead in the closing minutes. When the Hawks missed, the Lions capitalized.

Calderon accounted for the final basket of the game when she drained a 3-pointer with 7 seconds left in regulation.

After struggling in the first half, the Hawks regrouped and did everything in their power to make sure the contest didn't end by blowout.

"Everyone wanted to win," Covarrubias said. "We played as a team."

"They didn't give up," said Padilla, whose team dropped to 4-4 in the Modesto JC summer league standings. "They stuck together."

Central Valley routed the Escalon Cougars 42-21 earlier in the day.