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Bulldogs top Panthers twice in boys hoops
• Ceres High improves to 5-3 overall, 5-1 in the WAC
Samar Singh
Samar Singh and Ceres High’s boys basketball team defeated J.J. Griffith and Pacheco twice in WAC play last week. - photo by Dale Butler

Ceres High School’s boys basketball team won back-to-back games versus Pacheco this past week.

The Bulldogs improved to 5-3 overall and 5-1 in the Western Athletic Conference South standings following Friday evening’s 58-52 victory versus the host Panthers. 

“Eight games into the season, I see who we are,” head coach T.J. Walker said. “Our identity is playing defense, rebounding and sharing the ball.”

Ceres High’s Samar Singh tallied 12 of his team-high 18 points in the first period during the second meeting. He also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.

Inderraj Dhillon poured in 10 of his 15 points in the final quarter.

Verlis Smith collected 11 points and five rebounds.

Gabe Newton had 10 points and five rebounds.

“Everybody chipped in,” Walker said. “Our whole starting five scored.”

Ceres High stormed out to a 25-15 lead in the opening eight minutes.

The Panthers outscored the Bulldogs 37-33 the rest of the game.

“It was a barnburner,” Walker said. “Every possession mattered in the fourth quarter.”

Ceres High overcame a sluggish start and pulled away for a 54-41 win over Pacheco on Thursday at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

“It was an interesting game,” Walker said.

Smith led the Bulldogs with 15 points and seven rebounds.

Dhillon added 15 points.

Singh had 11 points and nine rebounds.

Newton had four points and six rebounds.

Ryan Ashby had three points and five assists.

Ashby started at point guard for the second week in a row.

“He played sparingly at the beginning of the season,” Walker said. “His work ethic pushed him into the starting position. The last three weeks, he’s gotten better. He’s a general out there. He gets us in our sets. He plays defense and takes care of the ball.”

The Bulldogs were limited to just 14 points in the opening half.

“The first half was so not like us,” Walker said. “We didn’t have any energy. We had a nice talk at halftime. There were no adjustments (for the second half). It was all them. They were locked in. They believed in each other.”

There are no playoffs for all sports in the Sac-Joaquin Section this school year as seasons started late due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“One thing that stings is we don’t get the opportunity to make that happen,” Walker said.

The Bulldogs kept their conference title hopes alive last week.

Ceres High and Los Banos (6-0) are battling for the WAC South championship.

The Bulldogs will face the Tigers on the road tomorrow and play host to Los Banos on Friday.

Both games will begin at 7:30 p.m.