Razzed by Ceres High School's raucous student-cheering section each time he stepped to the free-throw line, Central Valley junior standout guard Jaron Dickson couldn't help but smile.
Dickson converted 11 of 14 foul shots and totaled 18 points as the Hawks won the Western Athletic Conference varsity boys contest, 66-54, Friday night at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.
"I'm calm in those situations," Jaron said. "I was a freshman at varsity. I've heard all the trash talking. It goes in one ear and out the other."
Central Valley improved to 13-4 overall and 1-1 in the WAC standings.
The Bulldogs dropped to 9-8 on the year and 1-2 in conference play.
Hawk Ryan Donnelly tallied 18 points against Ceres High.
Central Valley teammates Daevon Brown, Parker Griffin, Kendel Johnson and Diego Sanchez collected 14, 10, four and two points, respectively.
Harman Chung paced the Bulldogs with 18 points.
Abel Reyes, Austin Stiles, Joshneil Sandhu, Junior Garcia, Nick Burt and Angel Garcia chipped in with 11, eight, six, five, four and two points, respectively.
Chung and Reyes, Ceres High's senior leaders, both took the loss hard.
"We only play them once at our house," Chung said. "We wanted it bad. You never want to lose to your rival. We want to be the best team in Ceres."
Griffin had 10 points, including eight in the second period, as Central Valley built a 30-22 lead in the opening half. Brown buried two treys on his way to tallying eight points. Donnelly added seven points.
The Hawks outscored the Bulldogs 36-32 after intermission.
Dickson totaled 15 points. He made 10 of 12 free throws in the final period.
Donnelly and Brown contributed 11 and six points, respectively.
"We knew if we did what we were supposed to do, we'd win," Jaron said. "It's the best feeling in the world. I always love these games. It's fun and intense."
"We didn't execute our game plan," Chung said. "We didn't pressure their shooters. They had open shots."
Central Valley will host Central Catholic today.
Ceres High will play at Patterson on Wednesday and Los Banos on Friday.
All three games will get underway at 7:30 p.m.
"We got to bounce back," Chung said. "We got to forget about this game and focus on our next opponents."