Central Valley High School's varsity girls basketball team defeated Ceres High 29-17 for fifth place at the Pitman Tournament during the preseason.
The Bulldogs will play host to the Hawks in Western Athletic Conference play this Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
"Everyone is talking about the crosstown rivalry," Ceres High head coach Kristen McClure said. "We have to treat it like any other game. We can't get too excited."
Central Valley had a 10-7 overall record as of Monday. The Hawks opened the WAC season with three straight victories.
"Whenever we play each other, there's a certain energy to the game," Bulldogs fourth-year star player Nicole Bates said. "It's different. We both go so hard. Central Valley has a good team. They're pretty strong and aggressive. We just have to play to the best of our ability. It should be competitive."
Ceres High (9-7, 2-1) has experienced a major turnaround this year. The Bulldogs, 7-12 this past winter, have already surpassed last season's win total.
"Taking WAC is a big deal," Hawks third-year standout Mikayla Mabie said. "But you always want to beat your rivals. We're pretty confident. We have to be consistent for all four quarters. We just need to work together."
Mabie totaled 35 points as Central Valley collected 55-47 and 45-42 wins against Ceres High last season. Bates scored 25 points.
"Nicole is their main player," Mabie said. "If we can contain her to 10 points or less, that will be really good."
The Hawks own an all-time record of 9-10 versus the Bulldogs.
Mabie and Central Valley have won four of their last five meetings against Bates and Ceres High.
"We're pretty excited," Mabie said while talking about the upcoming meeting between Central Valley and Ceres High. "There's always a big crowd. Everyone enjoys the hype."
"It's a game we have to win," McClure said. "Hopefully, it will be more competitive. The main things for us are to play better defense and put some points on the board."
Central Valley's varsity boys basketball team beat Ceres High 55-49 and 51-42 in Western Athletic Conference play last season.
The 2014-15 WAC-champion Hawks (11-7, 3-0) will play host to the Bulldogs (4-12, 1-2) this Friday at 7:30 p.m.
"Ceres High is always a tough opponent," Central Valley head coach Darryl Dickson said. "They're gritty and play hard."
David Glukhovskiy, Harinder Sidhu and Gurshan Chahal will lead the Hawks, who have managed to maintain their standard of excellence this winter despite competing with a brand-new lineup. Central Valley lost all five of its starters from a year ago to graduation.
Austin Stiles, Haaydn Martinez and Cristian Garcia will lead Ceres High.
"It's always exciting competing against Central Valley," said Stiles, a third-year standout guard/forward. "We have to come out really aggressive and play strong defense. We have to hustle. We need to do a little bit of everything."
The Bulldogs have an all-time head-to-head record of 8-11 against the Hawks.
Central Valley has won the last five meetings, including twice this past season en route to capturing its first WAC championship.
"I really enjoy the rivalry," Dickson said. "The atmosphere is great. There's a lot of excitement. It's going to be a tough matchup. They're getting better and better. We'll have a game plan and try to accomplish it."