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Dawgs avoid major upset
Pata scores winning basket against JV Hawks
Ceres Highs Alexis Contreras (22) and Central Valleys Angelica Duarte battle for a rebound. The Bulldogs edged the Hawks 47-46 in Western Athletic Conference play last week. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Central Valley High School's junior-varsity girls basketball team put a major scare into Ceres High last week.

The visiting Bulldogs kept their perfect record intact in Western Athletic Conference play with a thrilling 47-46 win over the crosstown Hawks on Thursday.

Ceres High's dominated the majority of its opponents this year.

"It's good for our girls to have a close game like that," Bulldogs head coach Kristen McClure said. "It scared us a bit."

Ceres High improved to 17-2 overall and 6-0 in the WAC standings. Central Valley dropped to 5-10 and 4-2.

"We have a great group of girls," McClure said. "They're really athletic. They work so well together. I love that I get to play everyone."

Ceres High's Alexis Contreras collected a team-high 12 points against Central Valley.

Julia Pata, Breanna Moreno and Kaylee Holloway tallied nine, eight and six points, respectively.

Leena Bassi and Rayohna Sagapolu totaled four points each.

Natalia Cortez and Raimee Mendoza chipped in with two points apiece.

Hawk Angelica Duarte collected a game-high 14 points.

Delores Uti, Adria Robinson and Blanca Espinoza added 13, 11 and eight points, respectively.

The Bulldogs and Hawks battled to a 25-25 tie during the opening half.

Ceres High erased a six-point deficit late in the game.

"We had a little bit more in us," Pata said. "They pushed us to our limits. I'm not surprised. They have good talent on their team."

Pata's offensive rebound putback gave the Bulldogs a 47-46 lead with 49 seconds to play.

"You have to sneak in the gaps where no one else is," she said. "It's really exciting. I've never had a game-winner."

Contreras secured the victory with a steal.

"It means a lot," Alexis said. "We had to push ourselves to get the win. We knew it wasn't going to be easy. They have a good team."