Fueled by Mikayla Mabie's fourth-quarter performance, Adriana Haynes' early-game dominance and Heaven Simon's defensive prowess, host Central Valley High School's varsity girls basketball team outlasted crosstown-rival Ceres High 45-42 last Friday.
"We knew it wasn't going to be easy," Mabie said. "It's always a battle with Ceres High."
Central Valley improved to 12-6 overall and 5-1 in the Western Athletic Conference standings.
Ceres High dropped to 5-8 and 2-4.
"My team always brings it," Mabie said. "We have a saying, ‘Together equals powerful.'"
A role player a year ago, Mabie has emerged as a leader on this season's team.
She scored a game-high 17 points against the Bulldogs last week.
"It's always a great feeling when people have faith in you," Mabie said. "Last year, I had no confidence. I didn't believe I was a key factor. This year, I'm an all-round player. My team is what pushes me."
Haynes, formerly of Ceres High, tallied 10 of her 11 points in the first half. She scored all of her points in the paint.
"She's getting better and better," Hawks head coach Jesse Padilla said. "The scary thing is she's only a sophomore."
Simon, a standout in track and field, helped limit Ceres High standout Nicole Bates to 14 points.
Bates totaled just five points through the first three quarters.
"I understand basketball isn't Heaven's main sport," Padilla said. "She's a great athlete. She's fast. She knows her role and does it well."
"Nicole's a solid athlete," Mabie said. "She's fast. Heaven made her go left."
Simon had two points on offense.
Hawk teammates Lindsey Alexander, Teresa Diaz and Alyssa Costa chipped in with 10, three and two points, respectively.
"It's always a team effort," Mabie said. "We have weapons on our team."
Karina Ceja and Perla Vargas both tallied eight points for the Bulldogs.
Ariel Knights added five points.
Jessica Arreola, Allyson Hailey and Jasmine Moore finished with two points each.
Central Valley appeared headed for a blowout victory before Ceres High made the game interesting.
Bates collected 12 points in the second half, including nine in the final period. Ceja tallied all eight of her points after intermission.
"I'm not surprised one bit," Hawks head coach Jesse Padilla said while talking about the Bulldogs' second-half comeback. "We deserved to lose. Turnovers and missed free throws killed us tonight."
The Bulldogs cut the deficit to 43-42 on a pair of free throws by Bates with 39 seconds left in regulation.
Mabie's last basket gave the Hawks a 45-42 lead with 27 seconds to play.
"Everyone was tired towards the end of the game," McClure said.
Mabie accounted for 10 of Central Valley's 13 points in the final period. "Mikayla waited until the fourth quarter to attack," Padilla said. "It was there earlier. She's getting better. She can penetrate any defense."
Central Valley built a 25-17 lead in the opening half.
Central Valley improved its all-time record versus Ceres High to 7-10.
"It doesn't matter what the records are," Padilla said. "We're crosstown rivals. We always play hard against each other."
The Hawks and Bulldogs will face off again on Feb. 12 at Ceres High.
"It's at our place," McClure said. "It should be a good game."
Central Valley will host El Capitan this Thursday.
Ceres High will play at Livingston tomorrow.
Both games will get underway at 7:30 p.m.