Ceres High's varsity girls basketball team never lost faith.
Down by a dozen points on the road at halftime, the Bulldogs surrendered just six points the rest of the game in stunning crosstown-rival Central Valley with a 52-40 comeback victory in Western Athletic Conference action on Jan. 23.
"We just played our game," Ceres High junior post player Naciah Smith said. "We had fun. We didn't worry about the score."
Smith and Chrystal Perales both scored in double figures against their former school.
Naciah collected a team-high 15 points for the Bulldogs (3-15, 1-5).
Chrystal added 10 points.
"We wanted to prove ourselves," Smith said.
Ceres High teammates Camryn Silva, Harmen Bahia, Jacquelyn Pulido and Gabriela Carrasco chipped in with 10, eight, six and two points, respectively.
Bulldog Angelina Ursua had one point.
Sunaina Dhillon tallied a team-high 12 points for Central Valley (2-15, 1-5).
Chetna Kumar added 10 points.
Elizabeth Robinson netted nine points.
Rosie Duarte and Isabella Andres chipped in with three points each.
Guadalupe Becerra, Angelina Black and Angelina Knights all scored two points.
Ceres High topped Central Valley despite making just 12 of 33 free throws.
The Hawks shot 44 percent (7 of 16) from the charity stripe.
Ceres High and Central Valley committed a combined 45 fouls during the game, including 30 by the Hawks.
"I'm disappointed," Robinson said. "We could have had that game. We didn't play to the best of our ability. We got lazy. We didn't want it bad enough."
Central Valley appeared well on its way to a comfortable win versus Ceres High thanks to its smothering defense.
Ahead 34-22, the Hawks were outscored 30-6 by the Bulldogs during the second half.
Dhillon, Kumar and Duarte all fouled out.
"We didn't want to get blown out," said Smith, who totaled 12 points after intermission. "We kept playing hard and aggressive. We weren't paying attention to the time. Everything changed."