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CV, CHS conclude season
• Hawks, Dawgs lose pair of games
Ceres High’s varsity boys basketball team will lose five players to graduation, including Christian Murry. - photo by Dale Butler

Central Valley’s varsity boys basketball team concluded the 2018-19 campaign earlier this month with back-to-back losses.

“The effort was there,” coach Mike Rodriguez said. 

The Hawks compiled a 10-16 overall record and finished fifth in a field of seven during their first season in the Central California Conference (4-8). 

“Our record should have been a little better. But we couldn’t maintain our consistency through games."
Mike Rodriguez

“Our record should have been a little better,” he said. “But we couldn’t maintain our consistency through games. Being a shooting team, you go through ups and downs. Defensively, we weren’t as good as we hoped to be.”

Central Valley dropped its season finale, 71-58, at second-place El Capitan on Feb. 8. 

“We were in it early,” Rodriguez said. “We just couldn’t match their energy for all four quarters.”

Daniel Villasenor tallied a team-high 15 points versus the Gauchos.

Munraj Singh added 12 points.

Max Sanchez and Tony Gaut both contributed seven points.

Grant Neang and Kadin Manor netted six and five points, respectively.

Angel Zamarippa and Derek Bolivar finished with three points apiece.

Jonathan Vierra had two points.

Central Valley lost 83-71 at third-place Buhach Colony on Feb. 6 despite making 14 3-pointers.

“We struggled at the start,” Rodriguez said. “We just couldn’t get any stops on defense. They also shot the ball pretty well.”

Villasenor led the Hawks’ balanced scoring attack with 17 points.

Sanchez, Manor and Singh totaled 16, 14 and 10 points, respectively.

Neang had five points.

Zamarippa and Vierra both had four points.

Gaut added one point.

Central Valley will lose six players to graduation, including Sanchez, Villasenor, Neang, Singh, Gaut and Bolivar.

Sanchez, Villasenor, Neang and Singh started.

Sanchez, Villasenor and Neang were Central Valley’s leading scorers.

“It’s a good group of kids,” Rodriguez said. “They worked hard. This is probably one of the best offensive teams we’ve had shooting the 3.”

Manor, Vierra, Zamarippa and Jaeden Merchant will have bigger roles during the 2019-20 campaign.

“We’re definitely going to be young,” Rodriguez said. “We have a good core coming back. That should help us out. The guys just have to put in a lot of work in the offseason to prepare themselves for next year.”

Ceres High’s youth-laden varsity boys basketball team fell two wins shy of posting a .500 record during the 2018-19 campaign.

The Bulldogs went 12-14 and placed fifth in the Western Athletic Conference standings (5-9).

“I feel good about what we’re doing,” head coach T.J. Walker Jr. said. “Do I want to be in the playoffs right now? Of course.  It’s a process to get to the top. We’ll continue to grow. We’ll figure out how to win.”

Ceres High closed out the 2018-19 season with a 75-64 loss at Los Banos on Feb. 7.

The fourth-place Tigers (8-6) outscored the Bulldogs 45-35 during the second half.

“It’s hard to guard them with their motion and movement,” Walker said. 

Elijah Hughes led Ceres High with 16 points and eight rebounds.

Brock DeWitt had 11 points and one rebound.

Verlis Smith had 10 points and five rebounds.

Christian Murry had six points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists.

Derrick O’Neal had five points, five rebounds and one assist.

Malakhi Shimon had five points and three rebounds.

Ceres High’s upset bid versus Mountain House on the road fell short on Feb. 5.

The first-place Mustangs scored late in the game to secure a 45-44 win over the Bulldogs.

“We had Mountain House on the ropes,” Walker said. “We were up by one with 19 seconds left.”

Hughes tallied 26 points, nine rebounds and one steal before fouling out in the second half.

Murry had 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

The Bulldogs missed all 11 of their 3-point attempts against the Mustangs (14-0).

Ceres High will graduate five senior players, including Hughes, Murry, DeWitt, Brock Moore and Enrique Granados.

Hughes, Murry and DeWitt all started this year.

“Those guys will be hard to replace,” Walker said. 

The Bulldogs could return as many as eight players from this year’s team next season.

“We’re excited about the future,” Walker said.