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Bulldogs wrap up WAC play with 57-50 win over Panthers
Ceres Highs varsity boys basketball team secured the Western Athletic Conferences third and final playoff berth thanks to the stellar play of multiple players, including senior Austin Stiles. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

With a playoff berth already in hand, Ceres High School's varsity boys basketball team traveled to Pacheco on Feb. 16 for its final regular season game.

The Bulldogs were nearly upset by the Panthers.

Ceres High regrouped after squandering an 11-point lead on its way to beating Pacheco 57-50 in overtime.

"We weren't really focused," Bulldogs senior standout Austin Stiles said. "We were thinking ahead."

Stiles scored nine points versus the Panthers.

Haaydn Martinez had a team-high 18 points.

Marcellus Boykins, Christian Garcia, Nick Jones and Ismael Ontiveros tallied 13, eight, five and three points, respectively.

Xavier Mendoza added one point.

Down 41-30, Pacheco outscored Ceres High 18-7 in the third quarter to force overtime.

The Bulldogs secured the victory with a 9-2 run.

"We led the whole game," Stiles said. "They started heating up at the end."

The Bulldogs improved to 12-13 on the year. Ceres High finished third overall in the Western Athletic Conference standings (8-4).

Ceres High won seven of its final nine conference games.

"As soon as we hit league, everything turned around," Stiles said. "I'm proud of my team."

The Bulldogs secured their second straight playoff berth.

"It's super exciting," Stiles said. "The atmosphere is great."