Central Valley's varsity girls basketball team had just seven athletes in uniform during last week's non-conference game versus Tracy.
The Hawks trailed from start to finish in losing 52-43 to the Bulldogs Thursday night in Ceres.
"We're used to it (competing shorthanded)," said senior point guard Blanca Espinoza, one of Central Valley's nine players.
The Hawks dropped to 2-6 in preseason play.
The Bulldogs improved to 2-6 on the year.
"Our team is coming along," Espinoza said. "We're starting to bond. We have to put the effort in and stay motivated."
Espinoza, Alexis Contreras, Sue Dhillon, Rosie Duarte and Delores Uti started.
Mahogany Simon and Chetna Kumar contributed off the bench.
Blanca tallied a team-high 21 points. She converted 12 of 16 free throws.
Contreras collected eight points.
Dhillon and Duarte chipped in with five and four points, respectively.
Uti added one point.
Simon had four points.
Alyssa Escobar tallied a team-high 13 points for Tracy.
Izzie Valdez, Julissa Vargas and Caitlin Bowman collected 12, 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Bulldogs made five 3-pointers, including three by Escobar and two by Vargas.
Central Valley post player Adria Robinson, who averaged 8.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game as a junior, was sidelined with a finger injury.
She had surgery on her broken right pinkie and will miss up to three weeks.
Central Valley trailed 28-17 at halftime.
The Hawks were outscored 15-8 heading into the second quarter.
"We were intimidated in the beginning because of their size," Espinoza said.
Central Valley totaled 26 points after intermission.
The Hawks limited the Bulldogs to eight points in the final period.
Central Valley cut the deficit to 51-43 with 1:09 to play.
"We actually ran our plays right in the second half," Espinoza said. "We finally woke up."
Blanca played the entire game.
"It wasn't so bad," said Espinoza, who rarely left the hardcourt while starring in girls volleyball during the fall. "I'm so used to it. I just love to play sports."