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Bulldog trio rewarded for outstanding play
Mia Rodriguez file
Ceres High’s girls basketballprogram placed three players on the Western Athletic Conference South Division First Team, including Mia Rodriguez.

Celeste Leon, Catryna Marquez and Mia Rodriguez helped lead Ceres High’s girls basketball program to a second-place finish in the 2020-21 Western Athletic Conference South Division standings.

Their efforts didn’t go unnoticed as all three players were recognized by the WAC’s head coaches.

The nomination and selection process was completed via email.

Leon, Marquez and Rodriguez earned first-team, all-league honors.

“It was well-deserved for each of the girls,” Ceres High head coach Michael Estrada Jr. said. “All three of them worked hard during the season and offseason. They did all the extra stuff they needed to do. They were really committed. They all contributed to the team having another winning record.”

Leon earned first-team honors for a second year in row.

The junior guard averaged 12.5 points, 5.7 steals, 4.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.

“She has really good energy,” Estrada said. “She brings that to the court every time she steps on it. The other coaches recognized that.”

Marquez and Rodriguez both accomplished a first by garnering all-league recognition.

“They were excited to attain one of their goals,” Estrada said. “They’ve gotten better each year.”

Marquez, a senior guard, averaged 11.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 3.3 assists per game.

 “She definitely played a big role,” Estrada said. “She was a vocal leader on the team. She was a model for hard work in the program. She transformed into a better player. She improved different aspects of her game every year.”

Rodriguez, a junior guard, averaged 10.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 1.5 assists per game.

“She’s always been one of the more skilled players on the team,” Estrada said. “She stepped up and took a bigger role on the team with scoring, handling the ball and not getting into foul trouble. She played a lot smarter this year.”

Ceres High compiled a 4-2 record against WAC competition. The Bulldogs had to cancel six games due to COVID protocols as Ceres High players came in close contact with an infected person.

Ceres High snapped a streak of six straight losing seasons by amassing a 15-13 overall record and finishing fourth in league play (8-6) in 2019-20.

The Bulldogs finished 8-17 and sixth in the WAC (4-10) during Estrada’s first-year as head coach in 2018-19.

Ceres High won just five games in 2017-18.

“The team is definitely moving in the right direction,” Estrada said. “We’re changing the culture. We should be competing for league and playoffs next season.”