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CHS boys capture title on hardcourt
Ismael Ontiversos helped lead Ceres Highs varsity boys basketball team to a first-place finish at the Big Valley Christian Tournament this past week. The Bulldogs took first with a 3-0 record. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High School's varsity boys basketball team had a memorable showing while competing in the Big Valley Christian Tournament for the first time this past week in Modesto.

The Bulldogs compiled a perfect 3-0 record on their way to capturing the title.

Ceres High (3-1) took home a first-place plaque and tourney t-shirts.

"This is the first time we've played in this tournament," Bulldogs head coach Julio Marquez said. "We expected to win it."

Ceres High pulled away for a 66-48 win over host Big Valley Christian in the finals on Saturday.

The Bulldogs had three players score in double figures versus the Lions, including Ramon Coral (12), Austin Stiles (11) and Nick Burt (10).

Haaydn Martinez, Joshneil Sandhu and Puneet Sahi chipped in with eight, six and five points, respectively.

Brad Bussard and Ismael Ontiveros finished with four points apiece.

Johnathan Williams had three points.

Ceres High trailed 16-10 at the end of the first quarter.

The Bulldogs outscored the Lions 56-32 the rest of the game, including 21-8 in the second period.

Coral, Martinez, Bussard, Ontiveros and Juan Anderson provided a lift off the bench.

"We came out a little flat," Marquez said. "It's understandable because of the night before. The starters were pumped up. I put in the second-string guys for parts of the first and second quarters. They played good defense and got some transition buckets. Our depth is one of our strengths."

Sahi's half-court shot in the waning seconds propelled Ceres High past Ripon, 63-60, in the semifinals on Friday.

"It was a pretty wild finish," Marquez said. "The Ripon players were just as shocked as us. Everybody thought it was going to go to overtime."

Puneet, who was mobbed by teammates at the conclusion of the game, buried three treys and totaled a team-high 16 points.

Sandhu scored 13 points, including three treys.

Burt tallied 10 points.

Martinez, Coral, Stiles and Williams contributed nine, eight, five and two points, respectively.

The Bulldogs led 28-21 at halftime.

Ripon outscored Ceres High 39-35 after intermission.

The Indians evened the score at 60-all with a 3-pointer late in the game.

Sahi played the role of hero with a bank-shot from midcourt.

Ceres High topped Aspire Langston Hughes Academy, 84-18, in first-round action on Thursday.

Martinez paced the Bulldogs with 21 points.

Burt netted 19 points.

Stiles collected 11 points.

Williams had seven points.

Ceres High led 72-15 at the end of the third quarter.

"Everybody played," Marquez said.