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Former CHS leader coaches against his former team
Head coach Brian de la Porte expresses his displeasure to an official during Delhis 51-40 loss at Ceres High in varsity boys basketball on Dec. 29. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Brian de la Porte returned to his alma mater and coached against his former team this past week.

Brian and Delhi lost 51-40 in non-conference play to host Ceres High on Dec. 29.

"It's nothing new," de la Porte said while talking about facing the Bulldogs inside a gymnasium named after his father Phil. "It's the same feeling when I was at Patterson. I just want to come in, compete and get a win."

"Brian will always have that connection with Ceres High School no matter where he's at," said Julio Marquez, Ceres High's leader and one of de la Porte's closest friends and former assistant coaches.

The Bulldogs improved to 3-10 on the year.

The Hawks dropped to 1-9 overall.

"They have a pretty young team," Marquez said. "But they compete. Brian will always have his team prepared. He does a good job scouting."

Delhi actually led by four points, 24-20, at intermission.

The Hawks trailed 33-29 heading into the fourth period. Delhi mustered just five points in the third quarter.

The Bulldogs outscored the Hawks 17-6 during the final six-plus minutes of the game.

"Our kids played hard," de la Porte said. "I thought we did a good job. We competed."

"I always enjoy playing against Brian's teams whether it's preseason or in league," Marquez added. "It's always competitive. The intensity is always high. We run a lot of the same plays. It's nerve racking. It always feels better when you win, but not as great because it's your friend. At the end of the day, you want both teams to play well."

Brian has already earned the respect of his players at Delhi, including third-year varsity player Chance Browning.

"Everything is going well," Browning said. "He encourages and pushes us to do better. He believes in us. I think we can win league."

"It's cool playing against de la Porte and seeing him back in his old gym," Ceres High senior standout Austin Stiles said. "I met him when I was in junior high when I started going to open gym. He's a great coach. He's a great guy."

"I love it here at Delhi," de la Porte said. "It's a great school to be at. We're trying to build a program. We all know it's going to take some time."

"He's trying to instill a new attitude there," Marquez said. "Once they do that, they'll be successful, consistently."

Brian, a 1999 Ceres High grad, was named head coach of Delhi's basketball 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 direction from 2013-15. Patterson won three of its five meetings versus Ceres High.

Brian coached the Bulldogs for 13 seasons (2000-13).

Ceres High compiled a 61-72 record, advanced to the postseason twice and won the Western Athletic Conference title once during his five-year tenure at the varsity level.

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.