Central Valley High School's varsity boys basketball team embraced the challenging of facing Central Catholic last week.
Competing with a brand-new lineup after being hit hard by graduation, the Hawks put up a fight in the opening half before fading in a 76-59 loss to the Raiders Saturday evening in Modesto.
Central Valley compiled a perfect 12-0 record on its way to a first-place finish in the Western Athletic Conference standings last winter.
Central Catholic won eight of 14 games while taking fourth in the Valley Oak League a year ago.
"I really like playing against teams like this," Central Valley junior guard/first-year varsity player David Glukhovskiy said. "I think we did surprise them in the first half. I thought we had it."
Glukhovskiy collected a team-high 22 points for the Hawks. He made three 3-pointers.
Jaspreet Singh, Harinder Sidhu, Gurshan Chahal, Reuben Rodriguez and Ralph Afortunado finished with 12, 11, seven, five and two points, respectively.
Raider Cooper Wilson buried five treys while leading all scorers with 25 points.
Jared Rice added 21 points.
Joshua Hamilton chipped in with nine points.
"We couldn't stop him (Wilson)," Glukhovskiy said.
Central Valley trailed by just four points, 35-31, at the break. The Raiders took control by outscoring the Hawks 21-12 in the momentum-swaying third quarter.
"We could have been more focused in the second half," Glukhovskiy said. "We didn't rotate right on defense. We kept on fouling. They kept scoring."
The Raiders improved to 11-1 overall.
The Hawks dropped to 8-6 on the year.
"We need to step it up on defense," Glukhovskiy said. "Everything else is going great."
Central Valley lost all five of its starters from a season ago to graduation, including Jaron Dickson, Daevon Brown and Parker Griffin.
"We don't have size," Glukhovskiy said. "But our speed and shooting are what will get us far in league and to playoffs. I have faith in our team."
Glukhovskiy led the JV Hawks to a combined record of 46-6 and back-to-back WAC championships the previous two seasons. Central Valley won 22 of its 24 conference games.
David will fill a major role on this year's varsity squad.
"It feels really great," Glukhovskiy said. "Everybody looks up to you. But you can't let your team down. You have to do everything right."
Central Valley will begin the WAC portion of its schedule today with a home game against Patterson. The contest will get underway at 7:30 p.m.