Central Valley High School's junior-varsity girls basketball team struggled to a 1-8 record during the preseason.
The Hawks won their Western Athletic Conference opener, 63-34, at El Capitan on Friday in Merced.
Central Valley improved to 2-8 overall and 1-0 in the WAC standings.
"This is how we're supposed to play," Hawks head coach Jode Johnson said.
Hawk center Adria Robinson collected a game-high 20 points versus the Gauchos.
Annalicia Carbone and Angelica Duarte contributed 10 points each.
Blanca Espinoza, Dolores Uti and Gabriela Bonales added nine, six and two points, respectively.
"Our offense is better now because we're spreading out the floor and getting better looks," Johnson said. "We've been practicing a lot. We just need to focus on ourselves."
Central Valley built a commanding 18-6 lead in the first quarter.
"We got a lot of fast-break points in the beginning," Johnson said.
The Hawks outscored the Gauchos 17-1 in the fourth quarter.
Central Valley will battle visiting Patterson (Jan. 6) and Los Banos (Thursday) this week. Both games will get underway at 6 p.m.
Central Valley's junor-varsity boys basketball team faced its toughest challenge of the 2014-15 season this past week.
The Hawks opened the WAC campaign with a 55-41 win over visiting El Capitan on Friday in Ceres.
Unbeaten Central Valley (13-0, 1-0 WAC) put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter.
"There's always value to games like this," Hawks head coach Jordan Dickson said. "This is the first team that tested us. El Capitan is very physical."
Central Valley's talented trio of David Glukhovskiy, Harinder Sidhu and Jaspreet Singh combined for 41 points.
Glukhovskiy paced the Hawks with 24 points.
Sidhu tallied nine points.
Singh totaled eight points.
The Hawks shut out the Gauchos in the first quarter on their way to building a 24-12 lead in the opening half.
El Capitan cut the deficit to six points, 37-31, in the third quarter. The Hawks outscored the Gauchos 18-10 in the final period. Glukhovskiy totaled 10 points.
"It was a tough game," he said. "We have confidence in ourselves. We're trying to go undefeated."
Central Valley will look to improve to 14-0 on the year and 2-0 in the WAC when it faces host Patterson today at 6 p.m.
Frosh Hawks lose
Central Valley's freshman boys basketball team dropped its WAC opener 52-31 to visiting El Capitan on Friday in Ceres.
"Obviously, it's disappointing to lose," Hawks leader Jordan Dickson said. "They'll learn from it and get better."
Estevan Barragan led Central Valley in scoring with eight points.
Daniel Salazar and David Serrano both contributed six points.
Miguel Jimenez, Phillip Jackson and Antonio Ramirez finished with five, three and two points, respectively.
"The biggest thing I was impressed with was how hard the kids played on defense," Dickson said.
El Capitan seized the momentum with a 19-5 run in the third quarter.
"We fell victim to their defensive pressure," Dickson said. "We got flustered."
Dickson doesn't usually coach Central Valley's frosh squad. He filled in for Jon Merchant, who was vacationing in Hawaii with his family.
"I really have high hopes for this team," Dickson said. "They got a lot of good pieces."