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CHS girls defeat CC in hoops
Jaleen Melendez
Jaleen Melendez and Ceres High’s girls basketball team will travel to Merced today to play El Capitan at 7:15 p.m. - photo by Dale Butler

Ceres High School’s girls basketball team won one of three games while competing at the Patterson Tournament this past week.

“We have some work to do to get to the level we want to be at,” Bulldogs’ head coach Mike Estrada Jr. said.

Ceres High moved to 3-6 on the year after cruising to a 48-17 victory against Central Catholic on Saturday. 

The Bulldogs topped the Raiders 50-34 on Dec. 14 in Ceres.

“It’s always harder to beat a team a second time,” Estrada said. “You have to stay focused.”

Jaleen Melendez led Ceres High in scoring with 16 points during the second meeting.

Mia Rodriguez collected 12 points.

Alayna De La Torre tallied 10 points.

Celeste Leon and Sandra Espinoza contributed eight and two points, respectively.

Ceres High lost 62-27 to Patterson on Friday.

“Patterson is the best team we’ve played so far,” Estrada said. “They beat us pretty good.”

Leon scored a team-high 10 points versus the Tigers.

Rodriguez, Melendez and Espinoza had seven, six and four points, respectively.

Ceres High opened the tournament with a 51-43 loss to Ripon on Thursday.

“The game was winnable,” Estrada said. “We made small mistakes that cost us. They outrebounded and outhustled us.”

Rodriguez paced the Bulldogs with 16 points.

Leon added 12 points.

De La Torre, Melendez, Espinoza and Citlali Miranda finished with six, four, three and two points, respectively.

Rodriguez was named to the all-tournament team.

She averaged 11.7 points per game.

“She deserved it,” Estrada said. “She was consistent on offense and defense. She was a good team leader.”

Ceres High will travel to Merced today to face El Capitan.

The game will begin at 7:15 p.m.

The Bulldogs will look to add to their win total.

Ceres High dropped six of its first nine games of the 2021-22 campaign.

“It’s not the way we wanted to start the season,” Estrada said. “We have a lot of mistakes we need to clean up to get to the next level. Hopefully, we’re in a position to win league and make playoffs later this season.”


Head coach T.J. Walker Jr. didn’t express any displeasure following the Ceres High School boys basketball team’s 1-1 showing at the Ceres Holiday Classic this past week.

“Even in losses, you can learn to do better,” he said.

The Bulldogs dropped to 6-2 overall after losing 44-42 to the Natomas Nighthawks on Saturday at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

“We put ourselves in a position to win the game,” Walker said.

Ceres High’s Lebron Stallworth missed a potential, game-winning 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter.

Stallworth scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds versus Natomas (5-5).

“We did exactly what we wanted to do in that situation,” Walker said. “We had a good look. We just didn’t knock it down. Lebron’s capable of hitting that shot.”

Bulldog teammate Verlis Smith had 14 points and seven rebounds.

Adrian Ontiveros added 12 points.

Ceres High trailed 19-11 at the end of the first quarter.

The Bulldogs outscored the Nighthawks 26-12 during the middle periods.

“Once we stopped turning the ball over, it was a game,” Walker said. 

Ceres High managed to score just seven points while struggling in the fourth quarter. Natomas totaled 15 points to secure the victory.

“We ran good offense and didn’t finish,” Walker said.

The Bulldogs pulled away for a 57-36 win over Franklin on Friday.

“Once we made our run, we didn’t look back,” Walker said. “We took care of business.”

Ontiveros tallied 17 points and pulled down six rebounds against the Yellowjackets (3-7).

Smith collected 15 points and eight rebounds.

Stallworth chipped in with nine points and seven rebounds.

Franklin got within 11 points in the fourth quarter.

“I knew they were better than their record,” Walker said. “They played hard.”