Ceres High School's varsity girls basketball team surprised its head coach with a second-place finish at the Dec. 4-6 Hughson Tournament.
The Bulldogs, competing with a roster mixed with veterans and newcomers, won two of three games and improved to 2-2 in preseason play.
"That's more than what I thought we'd do," said Kristen McClure, Ceres High's new leader. "I'm really proud of them. We're going to have a good year."
Bulldog Nicole Bates was selected to the all-tournament team. The junior guard averaged 16.7 points per game.
"She's one of our leaders," McClure said. "She just plays hard all the time. She's a great athlete."
Gregori posted a 37-25 win over Ceres High in the championship game on Dec. 6.
"Our shots just weren't falling," McClure said.
Bates led the Bulldogs in scoring with nine points.
Jessica Arreola and Ariel Knights each tallied seven points.
Jade Moore added two points.
Ceres High edged Calaveras, 43-40, in the semifinals on Dec. 5.
Vargas scored a team-high 18 points.
Bates added 14 points.
Arreola had three points.
Ceja, Knights, Jade Moore and Jasmine Moore contributed two points each.
Ceres High won its first-round showdown versus host Hughson, 58-50, on Dec. 4.
Bates poured in a season-high 27 points.
Vargas, Ceja and Knights all scored six points.
Arreola and Jasmine Moore tallied five and three points, respectively.
Cameron Diaz and Allyson Hailey chipped in with two points each.
Ceres High opened the 2014-15 season with a 46-25 loss at Golden Valley on Dec. 2.
"We had a big turnaround this week," McClure said. "I didn't care if we won or lost. I just wanted them to work hard. We'll get better."