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Hawks post program-best 22-7 record, qualify for playoffs for first time
CV boys hoops team makes history during 2013-14 campaign
Senior Ryan Donnelly played a starring role on Central Valleys varsity boys basketball team this year. He averaged 17.1 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Central Valley High School's varsity boys basketball team reached unprecedented heights during the 2013-14 season.

The Hawks posted a program-best 22-7 record, qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the first time and finished second overall in the Western Athletic Conference standings with a 9-3 record.

Central Valley also won seven straight games.

"People recognize Central Valley basketball now," Hawks head coach Darryl Dickson said. "That's a good thing. This team has set the foundation for future teams. They put CV on the map. I'm really proud of them. We had excellent chemistry. There were no egos."

Eleventh-seeded Central Valley compiled a 1-1 record in the Division-III playoffs.

The Hawks battled back from a 14-point deficit before losing 61-58 to No. 3 Fairfield in the quarterfinals on Feb. 28.

"Our guys showed a lot of resiliency," Dickson said. "We weren't used to the physicality and speed. They were long and athletic."

Ryan Donnelly tallied a team-high 19 points for Central Valley.

Kendel Johnson, Jaron, Daevon Brown and Parker Griffin added 13, nine, seven and six points, respectively.

Juan Manriquez and Larenz Johnson contributed two points each.

The Hawks struggled from the field (28 percent) and 3-point range (18 percent).

Central Valley converted 16 of its 21 free throws.

"Even though we shot that poorly, we still had an opportunity to win the game," Darryl Dickson said.

Central Valley cut a 14-point deficit to one in the fourth quarter.

Down 59-58, Dickson caught a low pass and missed a 3-pointer from the left wing with 2.8 seconds remaining in the game.

Central Valley nearly grabbed the offensive rebound. The ball deflected off Johnson's and Brown's hands.

Fairfield increased its lead to three with two clutch free throws.

"We ran a great play," coach Dickson said. "Jaron got off a good shot. He was fouled on the arm and the referee didn't call it. It's a way more physical game up north. The officials let you play."

Dickson nearly forced overtime. His three-quarters-court shot hit the rim as time expired.

"We got off to a shaky start," said Darryl Dickson, whose team was on the wrong end of a 9-0 run in the opening quarter. "We closed the deficit to six at halftime. The beauty of this team is they never quit."

Central Valley knocked off No. 3 Sierra 60-43 in the opening round on Feb. 26 in Manteca.

Dickson and Brown both scored 15 points.

Donnelly had 13 points.

Johnson totaled 11 points.

The Hawks stormed to a 25-11 lead in the first period.

Central Valley accounted for 13 of the game's final 15 points to secure the victory.

The Hawks made history this season by accomplishing a handful of firsts.

A newcomer to the playoffs, Central Valley finished in the top eight in the section.

"It's a testament to the players and all the work they put in," coach Dickson said. "I can't say enough good things about them. Our goal was to win a section title. We fell a little short. The kids are really excited about next year. We're going to be really tough the next couple of years."