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Hawks girls basketball team determined to bounce back
Hawks fell short of their two goals this past season
Tamara Uti and Central Valley have high expectations for the upcoming season. The Hawks won back-to-back titles and qualified for the playoffs in 2012 and 2013. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Central Valley High School's varsity girls basketball team fell short of both of its goals for the 2012-13 season.

The Hawks are determined to put last year's disappointment behind them.

Central Valley (11-14, 6-6) failed to claim its third consecutive Western Athletic Conference title and Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berth.

"We already had our team meeting," Hawks head coach Jesse Padilla said. "They picked themselves to be in the top two. That's what we're going for."

Mia Lorenzo (Sr., G) returns for her third and final season with the Hawks.

Central Valley also welcomes back Ali Martinez (Sr., G), Jazareth Valencia (Sr., F), Tamara Uti (Sr., C/F), Bianca Zuniga (Sr., C/F), Nicholette Mendez (Sr., G) and Casey McCloskey (Sr., F/C).

Lorenzo averaged 9.8 points, 3.9 steals, 3.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game as a junior.
Martinez averaged 3.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.8 assists.

Valencia averaged 3.0 points and 2.0 rebounds.

Uti averaged 2.6 points and 4.6 rebounds.

Zuniga averaged 2.6 points and 2.6 rebounds.

Mendez averaged 1.7 points and 1.5 rebounds.

McCloskey averaged 1.4 points and 3.6 rebounds.

Newcomers Lindsey Alexander (Jr., G), Lynaya Lerma (Jr., F/G), Melissa Afortunado (Jr., G), Heaven Simon (Jr., G) and Jewel Miranda (Jr., F) helped propel Central Valley's frosh-soph girls team to an 18-5 overall record and runner-up finish in the WAC (10-2).

Mikayla Mabie (So., G) will provide an immediate boost on the court after sitting out 30 days to satisfy a CIF transfer rule.

She averaged 9.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.0 assist per game as the top player on Turlock High's varsity girls team in 2012-13.

Mabie will be eligible to play after Christmas Break.

Mireiyah Pelayo (Sr., F/C) rounds out Central Valley's roster.

She played volleyball for the Hawks during the fall, along with Lorenzo, Mendez, McCloskey and Lerma.

Three-year standout Brittany Martinez was lost to graduation.

The 6-foot-2 center averaged 14.9 points, 13.2 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per game while earning first-team all-WAC honors her senior year.

She currently plays basketball for UC Merced.

Just three of the Western Athletic Conference's seven teams earn invitations to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.

Patterson (12-0) finished first in WAC standings last year, followed by Central Catholic (8-4), Ceres High (7-5), Central Valley (6-6), Los Banos (6-6), Livingston (3-9) and Pacheco (0-12).

Fourth-place Central Valley split with third-place Ceres High last year.

The Bulldogs battled back from a double-digit deficit and won the first meeting, 51-46.

Nicole Bates paced Ceres High with 27 points.

Lorenzo tallied 20 points in defeat.

The Hawks won the second game, 51-42.

Lorenzo had 13 points.

Uti added 10 points.

Bates totaled a game-high 23 points.

The Bulldogs cut a 10-point deficit to two with 2:24 to play.

Central Valley outscored Ceres High 10-3 down the stretch.

The Hawks improved their all-time record against the Bulldogs to 6-9.