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Impressive start for Bulldogs
CHS girls edge out Los Banos, El Capitan
Bulldog guard Natalia Cortez attempts a contested layup against the Gauchos. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High School's varsity girls basketball team won just a total of seven games a year ago.

The Bulldogs opened Western Athletic Conference play with back-to-back wins and improved to 9-6 overall this past week.

"This really boosts their confidence," Ceres High head coach Kristen McClure said. "We're doing so much better this year. The team chemistry is great. I'm happy. But we still have a long ways to go if we want to make it to playoffs."

Ceres High edged host Los Banos 38-31 in overtime on Thursday.

"The girls played hard and as a team," McClure said.

Nicole Bates tallied a team-high 14 points for the Bulldogs.

Jade Moore scored eight points.

Jessica Arreola and Breanna Moreno both contributed four points.

Jasmine Moore, Ally Hailey and Ayannah O'Neal chipped in with two points apiece.

Kaylee Holloway and Leena Bassi each had one point.

Ceres High shot 56 percent (10 of 18) from the free-throw line.

Bates and Jade Moore accounted for the Bulldogs' seven overtime points.

Jade made all four of her foul shots, while Nicole buried a trey to lead Ceres High past Los Banos.

The Tigers scored zero points in the extra period.

"I wasn't really worried," McClure said. "Jade is a good free-throw shooter. She really stepped up."

Ceres High won its WAC opener by a score of 31-26 versus visiting El Capitan on Jan. 5 at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

"It was a physical game," McClure said. "We pushed through it."

Bates totaled a team-high eight points.

Jade Moore and Natalia Cortez netted five points each.

Moreno collected four points.

Bassi, Hailey, Holloway and Jasmine Moore finished with two points apiece.

Arreola had one point.

Ceres High beat Los Banos and El Capitan by a combined 12 points last week.

"I'm super proud of how they've been playing and hope they can continue it," McClure said.