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CV girls remain in first place
Chetna Kumar swings a pass to a teammate during Central Valleys 46-27 pounding of Pacheco in WAC play on Thursday in Ceres. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Sophomores Sue Dhillon and Lupita Becerra are gaining valuable experience this winter as role players on Central Valley's varsity girls basketball team.

Dhillon, Becerra and the host Hawks defeated Western Athletic Conference rivals Pacheco and Los Banos last week in Ceres.

"They both listen," Central Valley head coach Jesse Padilla said. "They ask questions. They go 100 percent all the time."

Dhillon split playing time at power forward and center.

Her focus was rebounding and defense.

"I push her to get as much out of her as I can," Padilla said. "She's getting better every game. She knows the plays. She does what the coaches want. You can't ask for more than that."

Becerra contributed at guard.
"She's another ball handler," Padilla said. "She gets nervous but that's sophomore stuff."

Central Valley pulled away for a 46-27 win over Pacheco on Thursday.

"Everybody played," Padilla said.

Alexis Contreras and Blanca Espinoza both scored a game-high 16 points for the Hawks.

Rosie Duarte, Adriana Haynes and Dhillon netted six, four and two points, respectively.

Becerra and Delores Uti had one point each.

Reserves Chetna Kumar and Mahogany Simon chipped in as well.

"It's good to reward them (non-starters) with playing time," Padilla said. "They do come to practice and work hard."

Pacheco challenged Central Valley early in the game and battled back during the second half.

"We got tired," Padilla said. "I didn't call timeout on purpose to keep them running."

Central Valley escaped with a 61-57 win over Los Banos on Jan. 10.

The Tigers erased a double-digit deficit late in the game before succumbing to the Hawks.

Central Valley struggled after Espinoza fouled out.

"We got sloppy," Padilla said. "We turned the ball over."

Contreras led the Hawks in scoring with 23 points.

Espinoza added 22 points.

Duarte and Haynes both tallied six points.

Dhillon had four points.

First-place Central Valley improved to 3-0 in the WAC standings.

The Hawks placed first in conference play with a near-perfect 11-1 record in 2016.

"I don't worry about that stuff right now," Padilla said when asked if the Hawks would repeat as WAC champions. "It's still early in the season. We're not even at the halfway point yet."

Central Valley will play on the road against crosstown-rival Ceres High tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.

The Hawks edged the Bulldogs twice (45-43, 44-43) last season.