Ceres High School's varsity boys basketball team fell behind by 10 points in the opening half of Friday's Western Athletic Conference opener at Livingston.
The Bulldogs saw their comeback attempt fall short in losing 67-58 to the Wolves.
"We got within one point twice in the fourth quarter," Ceres High head coach Julio Marquez said. "We just couldn't get over the hump."
The Bulldogs dropped to 6-7 overall and 0-1 in the WAC standings.
Plagued by foul trouble, Ceres High guard Puneet Sahi scored all 18 of his points in the second half.
Joshneil Sandhu added 14 points. He made just one of nine shots from 3-point range.
Sophomore Haaydn Martinez tallied 12 points.
Ramon Coral and Jonathan Williams collected six and four points, respectively.
Nick Burt and Juan Anderson both had two points.
Bulldog standout Austin Stiles did not play due to illness. He watched from the bench.
"It changed the dynamics of our offense and defense," Marquez said while talking about Stiles' absence on the court.
Anthony Deol led Livingston (5-8, 1-0) in scoring with 22 points.
Harman Singh added 20 points.
Ceres High shot 45 percent (15 of 33) from 2-point range, 28 percent (5 of 18) from 3-point range and 58 percent (11 of 19) from the foul line for the game.
"We had some good looks," Marquez said. "Our shot just weren't falling."
The Bulldogs missed five of six treys in the fourth quarter.
"We didn't hit any shots down the stretch," Marquez said.
Ceres High managed to cut the deficit to 46-43 in the third quarter despite missing six of eight free throws.
"It was a pretty competitive game," Marquez said. "We should have attacked more in the second half."
CHS first at Orestimba
The Bulldogs capped off their preseason schedule with a dominant showing at the Dec. 26-27 Orestimba Winter Classic.
"I'm not surprised at all," Coral said. "The whole tournament we played with a lot of intensity. We still have some things to work on."
Ceres High posted a perfect 3-0 record at the Orestimba event.
Puneet Sahi was voted tournament MVP.
Joshneil Sandhu was selected to the all-tourney team.
The Bulldogs beat Millenium (70-32), Pacheco (60-34) and Orestimba (53-32).
"Everybody contributed," Marquez said.
Ceres High will play at El Capitan on Wednesday and host Los Banos on Friday. Tip-off slated for 7:30 p.m.