Ceres High School’s boys basketball program won one of two games at the Ceres Holiday Classic, which was staged Dec. 16-17 at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.
“This team plays hard,” head coach T.J. Walker Jr. said. “I have no worries about that piece. We just have to clean up the other stuff to get over the hump.”
The Bulldogs opened the round-robin tournament with a hard-fought 46-37 victory against Elk Grove on Dec. 16.
“It was close early,” Walker said. “They were locked in defensively. We made our run in the second and third quarters.”
Lebron Stallworth led Ceres High with 12 points and six rebounds.
Sophomore Manuel Ortega collected 11 points.
Ricky Stanley tallied eight points.
Adrian Ontiveros added seven points, five rebounds and four assists.
Xzayvier Martinez totaled five points and five rebounds.
Ceres High closed out the tourney with a 52-48 loss to Patterson on Dec. 17.
The Bulldogs squandered a 16-4 lead as they struggled to execute on offense against the Tigers’ zone defense.
“We started the game off well,” Walker said. “We sputtered after that. We didn’t score for seven minutes. That’s been our Achilles heel this season.”
Stallworth scored a team-high 15 points and grabbed four rebounds.
Ortega contributed 13 points.
Ontiveros chipped in with eight points, seven assists and five steals.
Ceres High’s 12-point lead got cut in half heading into the second quarter.
The Bulldogs made just 6 of 31 shots from 3-point range and committed 18 turnovers in defeat.
“It was a close game,” Walker said. “We had an opportunity to increase our lead. We just got to be confident in what we do. There are things we can clean up.”
“We’re competing,” he added. “We’ve put ourselves in position to win every game. We have to learn how to finish.”
Hawks win twice
Central Valley’s boys basketball team improved to 5-6 in non-conference play after winning two of its last three home games.
“I thought we had a good week,” Hawks’ head coach Mike Rodriguez said. “The kids played hard.”
Central Valley topped Escalon 75-64 on Dec. 16 in Ceres.
The Cougars had a 6-2 record prior to facing the Hawks.
“That was a really solid win,” Rodriguez said. “We forced 22 turnovers.”
Gage Mastropierro buried eight treys on his way to pouring in a career-high 36 points.
He also collected 13 rebounds, eight steals, three assists and one block.
“Gage stepped up and made some huge shots for us,” Rodriguez said.
Jayson Casias added 14 points, 11 rebounds and two steals.
Jomari Ocasiones had nine points, two rebound, two assists and one steal.
Cameron Bradshaw had six points, nine assists, four steals and three rebounds.
Central Valley battled back from a nine-point deficit in the final five minutes.
“We kept the pressure on and got some turnovers,” Rodriguez said.
Central Valley rolled to a 73-48 win over Riverbank on Dec. 14.
“It was a good bounce-back performance,” Rodriguez said. “We didn’t play well against Turlock.”
Mastropierro made seven treys en route to tallying a game-high 29 points.
He also had seven rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Ocasiones had 15 points, five rebounds and two steals.
Casias had 10 points, four rebounds, three steals and one assist.
Bradshaw had nine points, four steals, three rebounds and three assists.
Central Valley lost 79-36 to Turlock on Dec. 13.
“We didn’t come out ready to play,” Rodriguez added. “We didn’t have energy. Stylistically, it wasn’t a good matchup for us. They got a lot of size. They got a lot of shooters.”
“You got to play really well to beat a team like Turlock,” he added.”
Mastropierro had 10 points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block.
Casias had 10 points, three rebounds, two steals and one assist.
Ocasiones had nine points, one rebound, one assist and one block.