By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Martinez, Dawgs garner recognition for stellar basketball play
Ceres High senior Haaydn Martinez was voted co-Most Valuable Player of the Western Athletic Conference. Martinez averaged 16.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.4 steals per game. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High varsity boys standout basketball player Haaydn Martinez shared the Western Athletic Conference's top individual honor with Patterson's Jo Okitukunda.

Martinez and Okitukunda were named co-MVPs of the WAC in a vote for the league's head coaches earlier this month in Ceres.

"I was a little surprised when I found out," said Haaydn, a third-year varsity guard. "When it settled in, I had a smile on my face the rest of the day. I'm just glad the coaches honored me with this award. Being recognized is a big deal. All the hard work I put in to help my team paid off."

Bulldog teammates Cristian Garcia (Jr.), Inder Sandhu (Jr.) and Ismael Ontiveros (Sr.) earned all-conference accolades as well.

"It proves how important they were to the team," Ceres High head coach Julio Marquez said.

"We had a good group of guys," Martinez added. "I just wanted to make it a fun season."

Haaydn was recognized for his leadership and solid play on both ends of the court as the Bulldogs finished in second place in the conference standings (7-3).

The Tigers (9-1) won the team title.

Ceres High compiled a 1-1 record versus Patterson.

Martinez's two free throws with one second left in regulation lifted the Bulldogs to a 56-54 win over the visiting Tigers on Jan. 11 at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

"Big moments didn't bother him," Marquez said. "He played hard and competed. He wanted to win. He put in a lot of work during the summer. He's really competitive in everything he does. He doesn't go through the motions."

Martinez's final season with the Bulldogs was his most productive.

He averaged 16.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.4 steals per game.

Haaydn also buried 15 3-pointers and shot 71 percent from the free-throw line.

"He played hard all season," Marquez said. "He's a big reason why we made playoffs. He was more than just a shooter. He learned how to score and play defense."

"I became a better all-round player this year," Martinez said. "I'm a big competitor. I don't like to lose."

Martinez earned a spot on Ceres High's varsity boys hoops team as a sophomore.

He averaged 8.0 points per game as a role player.

Haaydn was selected to the WAC First Team as a junior.

He averaged 16.8 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.

"I feel like I exceeded my expectations," Martinez said. "I set some high goals and I accomplished some of them. I tried to do well individually and help my team. I want to play college ball. I have a couple offers. I'll make my decision soon."

Garcia, Ceres High's 6-foot-6 junior center, was selected to the WAC First Team for the second year in a row.

Sandhu, a first-year guard, earned second-team all-league honors.

Garcia averaged 14.0 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game.

He shot 63 percent from the field.

Cristian also had five double-doubles.

Sandhu averaged 13.0 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

He made 11 3 pointers.

"Inder was close to being a first-team guy," Marquez said. "He got beat out by a few votes."

Sandhu was the leading scorer on Ceres High's junior-varsity team as a sophomore.

Ontiveros was an honorable-mention pick.

The third-year point guard averaged 7.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game.

Martinez and Ontiveros will be lost to graduation in June.

Haaydn and Ismael helped Ceres High establish a winning tradition.

Ceres High collected 40 victories, amassed a 22-12 record in WAC play and participated in the playoffs every season during their three years on the team.