Central Valley varsity boys basketball players Grant Neang, Max Sanchez, Daniel Villasenor, Tony Gaut, Munraj Singh and Derek Bolivar competed on their home court for the final time last week.
The six upperclassmen were recognized before the Hawks’ Central California Conference contest versus the Patterson Tigers.
“They’re all great kids,” Hawks’ second-year leader Mike Rodriguez said. “I don’t think I’ve seen any of them mad or sad. They’re always smiling, laughing and joking around. They’re definitely fun to coach.”
Neang poured in a team-high 21points while leading Central Valley to a 65-49 win over Patterson on Senior Night last Wednesday in Ceres.
“He’s the motor that gets us going,” Rodriguez said. “He’s such a smart player.”
The Hawks improved to 10-15 overall and 4-6 in the CCC standings (fourth place)
The last-place Tigers dropped to 5-20 and 2-8.
Central Valley kept its playoff hopes alive.
Sanchez tallied 17 points against Patterson.
Villasenor and Gaut both contributed six points.
Singh had one point.
“Those guys have spent three to four years in the program,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a long journey. They put a lot of time in. A lot of practices and bus rides. The last (home) game is a culmination of everything.”
“I have a lot of memories from freshmen year all the way until now,” Neang said. “I’m going to miss playing with my friends, my coaches yelling at me and everyone cheering us on. It’s a little sad.”
Hawk junior Kadin Manor collected 10 points.
Sophomore Jonathan Garcia added four points.
Neang’s 3-pointer from the right wing at the buzzer gave Central Valley a five-point lead through three quarters.
The Hawks outscored the Tigers 22-12 during the final period. Sanchez and Neang had nine and six points, respectively. Sanchez buried three 3-pointers.
“We started off slow again,” Rodriguez said. “But turned it up in the third quarter and shot like we’re capable of. Our guys stepped up at the right time. We finally wore Patterson down. There was constant pressure all game.”
“It’s a huge victory because we’re trying to get to playoffs,” Neang said.
Central Valley will close out the CCC season this week.
The Hawks will play at Buhach Colony today and El Capitan on Friday.
Both games will begin at 7:15 p.m.