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Ceres High boys qualify for basketball playoffs
Manny Ortega
Ceres High boys basketball standout Manny Ortega totaled 46 points in two league games last week. - photo by Dale Butler

Ceres High’s boys basketball team clinched a playoff berth under seventh-year head coach T.J. Walker Jr.’s guidance for the first time this past week.

“It’s a building process,” said Walker. “It’s what we’ve been trying to do the last couple years. I’m happy for the boys. They made it happen.”

The second-place Bulldogs improved to 16-9 overall and 9-3 in the Western Athletic Conference standings after besting the Los Banos Tigers 64-55 on Homecoming at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium Friday evening.

Ceres High bounced back after getting upset by one point at Johansen.

“Los Banos is always a tough game,” Walker said. “I didn’t know how we were going to come out. The boys played hard, showed out and did what they were supposed to do. It was good to see.”

Freshman Carey Mastin led the Bulldogs with 21 points, six assists, two rebounds and two steals.

Manny Ortega tallied 17 points, nine rebounds, three steals, two assists and one block.

AJ Brown added 15 points, two assists and one rebound. 

Myles Vath had eight points, three rebounds and one steal.

The Bulldogs’ lead ballooned to as much as 17 points during the second half.

“We did what we needed to do,” Walker said. “We played good basketball.”

Ceres High lost 57-56 to Johansen on Wednesday in Modesto.

The Bulldogs underestimated the Vikings.

“Our locker room was a little noisier than normal,” Walker said. “We weren’t locked in. I didn’t prepare my boys, mentally.”

Ortega led Ceres High with 29 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and one block.

Mastin collected 15 points, nine assists, five steals and three rebounds.

Saragun Singh had four points, five rebounds and two steals.

Hawks beaten

Head coach Mike Rodriguez focused on a positive after Central Valley’s boys basketball team suffered a pair of losses in Central California Conference play last week.

“The second half of league our turnovers have been way down,” said Rodriguez.

Central Valley fell 64-56 at Buhach Colony on Friday.

The Hawks (5-21, 1-9) dropped into a last-place tie in the CCC standings with the Thunder (9-16, 1-9). Buhach Colony exacted payback for a 73-60 loss.

Andre Flores led Central Valley with 16 points, 13 rebounds and four assists.

Robbie Singh added 10 points, four rebounds and two assists.

David Gutierrez tallied 10 points, three rebounds and two assists.

Central Valley lost 72-45 to first-place Atwater on Wednesday in Ceres.

The Falcons had 38 points in the paint, 25 transition points and 17 second-chance points.

Atwater also made nine 3-pointers.

Gutierrez tallied 14 points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal versus the Falcons (14-13, 8-3).

Bryan Rodriguez added 10 points, five rebounds and one assist.

Jellmar Mata had eight points, three assists, two rebounds and one steal.


Ceres High’s girls basketball team has won it last five games.

The second-place Bulldogs improved to 18-7 overall and 9-3 in the Western Athletic Conference after besting fifth-place Los Banos 38-32 on Thursday at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

The Tigers dropped to 15-11 overall and 6-6 in the WAC standings.

Ceres High lost the first meeting 45-32 at Los Banos on Jan. 15.

Bulldog Marissa Renteria tallied 13 points, 13 rebounds, two steals, two blocks and one assist during the rematch.

Sovannary Carter added 11 points, eight rebounds, two assists and one steal.

Arrayah Stallworth had six points, nine rebounds, one steal and one block.

Ceres High topped fourth-place Johansen for the second time this season.

The Bulldogs defeated the visiting Vikings 49-43 on Jan. 30.

Ceres High won the first meeting 32-29 at Johansen on Jan. 11.

Stallworth totaled 15 points, 17 rebounds, eight blocks and one steal versus the Vikings (14-12, 7-5).

Marissa Renteria chipped in with 14 points, five rebounds, seven steals, three assists and one block.

Hailey Tsurui had 11 points, four rebounds, one assist and one steal.