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Dickson, de la Porte form friendship through coaching
Delhis Brian de la Porte (pictured right) and Central Valleys Darryl Dickson chat before their respective teams battled on Dec. 8. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Central Valley High School's Darryl Dickson-led varsity boys basketball team faced off against Brian de la Porte and host Delhi earlier this month.

Delhi's new leader previously coached against Dickson and Central Valley when he filled the same position at Ceres High and Patterson.

Central Valley built a big lead in the first half and held on for a 56-45 victory over Delhi on Dec. 8.

"It was a fun night," de la Porte said. "It's always a challenge playing them. He (Dickson) does a great job. He's really taken that program a step further from the past. Their kids are committed there. They play hard. That's a direct correlation with how Darryl coaches those guys."

Dickson has a career record of 8-8 versus de la Porte over the past eight seasons.

"It was good to see Brian again," Dickson said. "We've been coaching against each other for years. We've always had a mutual respect for each other."

"We got a great relationship," de la Porte said. "We talk a lot about basketball. As long as I'm at Delhi, we'd like to play them."

Delhi cut a 20-plus-point deficit to seven in the second half before Central Valley pulled away.

"I had to play six guys that night," de la Porte said. "I had five players miss practice the night before. If you don't practice, you don't play. I'm not afraid to lose the right way. Our kids fought hard to get back into the game."

Brian, a 1999 Ceres High grad, was named head coach of Delhi's hoops program on Aug. 31.

He stepped down at Patterson following the 2014-15 campaign. The Tigers amassed a 31-25 record and secured back-to-back playoff berths under de la Porte's guidance from 2013-15. Patterson lost four times to Central Valley, which had a perfect 12-0 mark while claiming the Western Athletic Conference crown a year ago.

Brian coached at Ceres High, his alma mater, for 13 seasons (2000-13).

The Bulldogs posted a 61-72 record, advanced to the postseason twice and won the Western Athletic Conference title once during de la Porte's five-year tenure at the varsity level. Ceres High won eight of 11 meetings versus Central Valley.

Delhi finished 13-14 on the year, participated in the Division-IV playoffs and placed second in the Southern Athletic League (8-4) last season.

"We're focused on getting our team better," de la Porte said. "The biggest challenge is getting kids out here. It's not a challenge that can't be overcome. It's going to take some time."

Added Dickson: "I think he can turn the program around. He just needs to develop talent. I'm sure they'll be competitive this year."

Delhi faced Ceres High on Dec. 29 at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium. Ceres High's gym is named after Brian's father.

Julio Marquez, one of de la Porte's closest friends and former high school teammates, coaches the Bulldogs. Julio was Brian's assistant coach for four seasons at Ceres High.

"We talk a lot, too," de la Porte said. "We bounce ideas off each other."

Patterson had a 3-2 mark against Ceres High the past two years.

"It always means something when I play Ceres," de la Porte said. "You always want to win. I got to work with a lot of their kids during the summertime. I've watched them a few times already. It will be fun and competitive."