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Hawks thwart Dawgs' comeback with late surge, win crosstown affair
Central Valley High School's varsity girls basketball team managed to keep Thursday's Western Athletic Conference game with Ceres High close in the first half despite competing shorthanded.

Hawk standout post player Brittany Martinez picked up her third foul with 3:30 left in the first quarter and was relegated to the bench for the final 11-plus minutes.

"We all knew we had to step it up because she's our most important player," Hawks point guard Mia Lorenzo said.

Said Bulldogs head coach Vanessa Morris: "We didn't take advantage."

Martinez scored 16 of her team-high 18 points in the second half and Central Valley escaped with a 51-42 win over crosstown Ceres High on Thursday at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

Mia Lorenzo had 13 points for Central Valley, which improved to 6-5 in the Western Athletic Conference standings.

Tamara Uti, Catrina Castillo, Ali Martinez and Bianca Zuniga added 10, five, three and two points, respectively.

Freshman Nicole Bates scored a game-high 23 points for Ceres High, which posted a 7-5 record in WAC play.

Bryce Ford tallied nine points.

Diana Borden and Diana Salgado finished with four points each.

Ryleigh Honberger had two points.

The Hawks trailed 18-14 at intermission.

Mia, Brittany and Tamara had seven, six and four points, respectively, as Central Valley outscored Ceres High 19-7 in the third quarter.

The Hawks' lead ballooned to 10, 35-25, with 7:40 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Ceres High got back into the game on the strength of a 9-2 run. Salgado buried back-to-back jumpers in the lane. Her second shot cut the deficit to 41-39 at the 2:24 mark.

"It was very scary," Lorenzo said while talking about the Bulldogs' valiant comeback attempt. "Everyone stayed calm. We still managed to keep making our baskets."

Central Valley re-established its dominance after Ford fouled out with 2:16 left in regulation.

The Hawks used a 10-3 run to finish off the Bulldogs. Castillo's clutch 3-pointer from the right baseline gave Central Valley a 46-40 lead with 1:05 to play. Catrina failed to convert two foul shots one minute earlier.

"My shots weren't falling all game," Castillo said. "I tried to not let it get to me."

Central Valley secured a split with Ceres High in WAC play this season.

The Hawks squandered an 11-point lead during their 51-46 loss to the Bulldogs on Jan. 22.

"Winning this game means a lot," said Lorenzo, whose team improved its all-time record versus Ceres High to 6-9. "It's the best feeling ever. We just worked so hard."

"They didn't press us this time," Morris said. "When we have to get into a half-court game, it's tough. We weren't efficient with the ball. Central Valley did what it needed to do. I still thought we were going to win. I feel bad for the girls."