Ceres High’s boys basketball team challenged Enochs for three-plus quarters during last week’s non-conference game.
The Eagles pulled away for a 50-38 win versus the upset-minded Bulldogs on Dec. 21 at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.
“We played hard every possession,” Ceres High coach T.J. Walker Jr. said. “We didn’t fold. I don’t expect anything less moving forward.”
The Bulldogs dropped to 6-3 on the season.
The Eagles improved to 9-4 overall.
“Everybody knows Enochs is one of the better teams in our area,” Walker said. “They’re big and athletic. They have shooters on the wing. I’d love to play them again.”
“Now, I’ve seen possibilities of what could be if we play hard every possession,” he added.
Adrian Ontiveros led the Bulldogs with 13 points.
“I didn’t expect him to be at the game,” Walker said. “He lost his grandpa late Sunday night. We didn’t practice on Monday. He gave us a valiant effort.”
Ceres High teammate Verlis Smith added 12 points and eight rebounds.
Lebron Stallworth had 11 points and eight rebounds.
The Bulldogs trailed by just four points, 36-32, at the end of the third quarter.
“Our rebounding kept us in the game,” Walker said. “We have to do a better job exploiting our athleticism.”
Enochs outscored Ceres High 14-6 in the final period to secure the hard-fought victory.
“We started worrying about the refs,” Walker said. “Every time they made a call against us, we complained. That took us out of the game.”
“We have to be better and more disciplined (on defense) for four quarters,” he added. “We gave them some easy buckets (inside). That was the difference. Our defense lacks a bit if our shots aren’t falling. We have lulls sometimes. That’s a problem we need to rectify.”
Central Valley’s boys basketball program won one of its three non-conference games on the road the week of Dec. 13-17.
The Hawks moved to 7-5 on the season.
Central Valley compiled an 0-11 record last year.
“It’s a combination of leadership and experience,” head coach Mike Rodriguez said while talking about reasons behind his team’s turnaround. “We’re doing a lot better. The kids have been working hard since last season ended. We still have a long ways to go.”
Visiting Central Valley edged Escalon 52-51 on Dec. 17.
Jordan Powers led the Hawks in scoring with 12 points.
Gage Mastropierro added nine points.
Jeremey Alvarez tallied eight points.
Yoshi Kumar and Jomari Ocasiones both contributed seven points.
Central Valley outscored Escalon 21-14 during the fourth quarter.
“We made some defensive adjustments,” Rodriguez said. “We had two of our guards faceguard and take their two best players out of the game.”
Central Valley fell 52-47 at Riverbank on Dec. 15.
The Hawks contributed to their own demise by committing 19 turnovers.
Riverbank outscored Central Valley 26-14 in the final period.
“We came out flat,” Rodriguez said. “We really struggled. We gave up too many points in the paint.”
Powers and Mastropierro both scored a team-high 17 points.
Kumar and Alvarez finished with nine and eight points, respectively.
Central Valley lost 61-57 at Hughson on Dec. 13.
The Hawks shot just 11 percent (3 of 28) from 3-point range and 27 percent (4 of 15) from the free-throw line.
Central Valley was outscored 16-4 during the third quarter.
“We played our best game of the year the Friday before against Ceres,” Rodriguez said. “We didn’t come in ready to play. I don’t know if we were still on a high.”
Powers poured in a team-high 19 points versus the Huskies.
Mastropierro collected 12 points.
Powers, Central Valley’s sixth man, totaled 47 points against Escalon, Riverbank and Hughson.
He averaged 15.7 points per game.
“He’s adjusted to his new role coming off the bench,” Rodriguez said. “He’s put a good stretch of games together. That’s what we expect from him.”
The Hawks will compete in the Livingston Tournament this week.