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A major turnaround
CV varsity hoops battling for first playoff berth since 2011-12 season
El Capitan had no answers for Mikayla Mabie and Central Valley last week. Mabie totaled 15 points during the Hawks 54-30 blowout of the Gauchos on Thursday in Ceres. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Central Valley High School's varsity girls basketball team made history by winning Western Athletic Conference titles and qualifying for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs during a two-year stretch from 2010 to 2012.

The Hawks racked up 34 wins with just 14 losses. Central Valley had a combined record of 18-4 in league play.

The Hawks went 23-26 (11-13 WAC) the past two seasons. Central Valley missed the playoffs both years.

"It's always fun to win," head coach Jesse Padilla said. "This year, we're faster. We have more weapons, scoring-wise. Our goal is to finish in the top three in the WAC. We're right there."

Second-place Central Valley moved to 13-7 on the year and 6-2 in the WAC standings after pounding El Capitan 54-30 on Thursday in Ceres.

"We played them twice already," Padilla said. "We knew they couldn't handle our press. We started off slower than expected. You can't do that against better teams."

Mikayla Mabie scored 11 of her 15 points in the opening half for the host Hawks.

Lindsey Alexander tallied 10 points.

Teresa Diaz totaled seven points.

Alyssa Costa and Adriana Haynes both collected six points.

Celest Lepe contributed four points.

Nicole Munoz and Heaven Simon finished with three points each.

Central Valley's lead ballooned to 20 points with 6:45 to play.

Gaucho Kaylin Gonzalez banked in a half-court shot at the buzzer.

Unbeaten Patterson pummeled visiting Central Valley 69-38 on Jan. 27.

The defending WAC champion Tigers defeated the Hawks 65-31 earlier this season in Ceres.

Alexander had a team-high 11 points during the rematch.

Costa and Haynes chipped in with eight points apiece.

Simon added six points.

Munoz had one point.

Mabie was limited to four points.

The Hawks trailed 29-10 at the end of the first quarter.

Central Valley will play host to Pacheco on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

The Hawks' final three opponents are Los Banos (Feb. 10), Ceres High (Feb. 12) and Livingston (Feb. 16).

"It's a long season," Padilla said. "We don't take any teams lightly. You can lose on any given night."