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Bulldogs climb to third place in WAC standings
CHS boys improve to 5-3 in conference play
Ceres Highs Haaydn Martinez shows off his shooting touch from the outside against Livingston on Jan. 25. Martinez tallied 11 points in leading the Bulldogs to a 60-49 win. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High School's varsity boys basketball team has won four of its last five games.

The Bulldogs' latest victories came against Livingston.

"We're being more consistent," Ceres High head coach Julio Marquez said. "We still have our moments when we turn the ball over. But the kids don't get down on themselves as much anymore."

Ceres High improved to 8-13 on the year and 5-3 in the Western Athletic Conference after spoiling Livingston's homecoming with a 71-56 win Friday night.

The Wolves dropped to 7-16 and 2-6.

"They played us tough," Marquez said.

The Bulldogs had five players scored in double figures versus the Wolves, including Austin Stiles (16), Haaydn Martinez (15), Marcellus Boykins (11), Ismael Ontiveros (10) and Christian Garcia (10).

Nick Jones (three), Xavier Mendoza (three), Andralas Wallace (two) and Trevor Nash (one) contributed on offense as well.

Ceres High shot 72 percent (21 of 29) from the free-throw line for the game.

The Bulldogs seized control with a 15-8 run in the first quarter.

Ceres High led 51-29 heading into the final period.

Host Ceres High pulled away for a 60-49 win over Livingston on Jan. 25 at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

Garcia scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Bulldogs.

Stiles, Martinez, Boykins, Jones and Ontiveros tallied 14, 11, eight, seven and five points, respectively.

Ceres High shot 63 percent (12 of 19) from the foul line.

The Bulldogs outscored the Wolves 21-7 in the fourth quarter.

Ceres High trailed 42-39 at the end of the third period.

First-place El Capitan snapped Ceres High's three-game winning streak with a 59-48 home win on Wednesday.

The Bulldogs surprised the Gauchos by opening the game with a 6-0 run.

El Capitan outscored Ceres High 23-6 in the momentum-swaying second quarter.

"They have a good team," Marquez said. "It was a battle."

Martinez scored a team-high 19 points in defeat.

Stiles, Garcia and Jones totaled eight, seven and five points, respectively.

Ontiveros, Blane Abeyta and Jordan McGrath all had two points.

Marcellus Boykins added one point.

Ceres High climbed to third place in the WAC standings last week.

Crosstown-rival Central Valley dropped from second to fourth.

The Hawks have lost four straight games since opening the WAC campaign with wins against Patterson, Los Banos, Pacheco and Livingston.

Ceres High dealt Central Valley its first loss in conference play. The Bulldogs dropped two of their first three conference games prior to posting a 69-52 victory against the defending WAC-champion Hawks on Jan. 22.

"It (beating Central Valley) gave our kids a lot of confidence," Marquez said. "It showed we're one of the stronger teams in the league."