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Hawks fourth in conference play
Youth-laden CV boys fall short of goal of qualifying for section playoffs
Gurshan Chahal and Central Valleys varsity boys basketball team just missed securing a playoff berth this winter. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Central Valley High School's varsity boys basketball team faced a challenging task this winter.

The Hawks graduated all five starters from their 2014-15 Western Athletic Conference championship squad.

Central Valley also had three returning players quit, including one midway through the WAC season.

"We still had a shot at playoffs," Hawks head coach Darryl Dickson said. "In the end, there are no excuses."

Central Valley won its final WAC game, 72-55, against visiting Livingston on Feb. 16.

"It was a good way to finish the season after the loss to Ceres High," Dickson said. "Obviously, we had expectations to make playoffs. Our lack of experience and size hurt us. We had some guys quit. It wasn't a bad year."

Central Valley (15-12, 7-5) placed fourth in the WAC standings.

The top three teams in the WAC advanced to playoffs, including El Capitan (12-0), Patterson (9-3) and Ceres High (8-4).

"There was a lot of parody," Dickson said. "The one thing they had that we didn't was size."

Josh Sidhu had a memorable final game with the Hawks, burying five treys on his way to tallying a career-high 28 points.

Harinder Sidhu and Nathan Perine contributed eight points each.

Ralph Afortunado, Wilbert Soriano, Jacob Guerro and Gurshan Chahal collected seven, five, four and three points, respectively.

Reuben Rodriguez, Simeron Singh and David Serrano rounded out Central Valley's scoring with two points apiece.

The Hawks hit 12 3-pointers against the fifth-place Wolves (3-9).

Central Valley held a 66-35 lead at the end of the third quarter.

The Hawks enjoyed a promising start to the WAC season.

Central Valley reeled off four straight victories, beating Patterson, Los Banos, Pacheco and Livingston.

The Hawks dropped five of their final eight games, including a pair of contests to Ceres High.

"It's disappointing," Dickson said. "Everybody is a bit down. We thought we put ourselves in a good position. We could have been more consistent in big games. We just made errors in key situations. It's a good learning experience for us. It's only going to make us stronger for next year."

Central Valley had a tough four-game stretch in WAC play as it had to play El Capitan twice and Patterson and Ceres High once in an eight-day span.

"The schedule hurt us," Dickson said.

Ceres High eliminated Central Valley from postseason contention with a 62-59 win on Feb. 11.

The Hawks lost 69-52 to the Bulldogs on Jan. 22.

Central Valley participated in the playoffs the past two years.

The Bulldogs will make their second straight playoff appearance.

"You got to give credit to Ceres High," Dickson said.

Chahal, Harinder Sidhu and Jaspreet Singh gained valuable experience as key contributors this year.

Fellow juniors Afortunado and Fregoso garnered playing time as well.

"We're looking forward to next year," Dickson said. "We return 10 guys. We'll pull up four or five guys from JV."