The Ceres High School varsity girls basketball team's slim playoff hopes took a major hit this past week.
"We just want to finish the season on a good note," Bulldogs head coach Kristen McClure said following her team's 1-1 showing in Western Athletic Conference play.
Livingston earned a WAC series sweep of visiting Ceres High on Friday with a 47-39 victory.
The Bulldogs dropped to 6-9 overall and 3-5 in the WAC standings.
The Wolves improved to 10-6 and 6-2.
Bulldog standout Nicole Bates scored a team-high 16 points in defeat.
Perla Vargas added 10 points.
Ariel Knights tallied three points.
Allyson Hailey, Ariel Knights and Jade Moore contributed two points each.
Jessica Arreola and Karina Ceja both had one point.
Ceres High fell behind 18-7 in the first quarter and trailed 31-15 at halftime.
Ceres High stormed back for a 39-34 win over host El Capitan on Jan. 27 in Merced.
"It wasn't a very good game for either team," McClure said. "We got the win. That's the most important thing."
Bates tallied a game-high 27 points.
Vargas, Arreola and Knights added seven, three and two points, respectively.
Ceres High trailed 29-23 at the end of third quarter.
The Bulldogs outscored the Gauchos 16-5 in the fourth period. Bates collected 13 points.
"She (Bates) definitely got more aggressive," McClure said.
Ceres High avenged a 49-46 loss.
Ceres High's junior-varsity boys basketball team had no room for error this past week.
The Bulldogs kept their WAC title hopes alive by winning a pair of games.
Ceres High thrilled its homecoming fans on Friday with a 53-48 victory over Livingston.
Marcellus Boykins led the Bulldogs in scoring with 16 points.
Austin Crain, Wyatt Ogden, Jeff Lemus, Nick Jones and Chris Lubinsky tallied 12, 10, eight, five and two points, respectively.
The Bulldogs shot 44 percent (22 of 50) from the field.
Crain started at point guard in place of Ismael Ontiveros, who was promoted to varsity the day before.
Ontiveros and Jordan McGrath poured in 18 points apiece while leading Ceres High past El Capitan, 58-29, on Wednesday at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.
Ogden tallied nine points.
Boykins and Lubinsky finished with four points each.
Lemus and Jacob Langan both scored two points.
Gilbert Rodriguez had one point.
"Everybody got to play at least five minutes," said Hunter, whose team built a commanding 33-14 lead in the opening half.
Ceres High improved to 13-4 overall and 6-2 in the WAC standings.
"Our record shows we're a great team," Hunter said. "But we haven't been at full-strength all year. I'm very happy with how my team's responded."
CV bests Patterson, El Capitan
Central Valley's junior-varsity boys basketball team won a pair of games en route to moving into a tie for first place atop the WAC standings.
Central Valley edged previously-unbeaten Patterson 61-57 on Wednesday in Ceres.
The Hawks avenged a 59-57 loss.
"We both have good teams," Central Valley head coach Jordan Dickson said. "The difference was we played tougher in the second half."
David Glukhovskiy led Central Valley in scoring with a game-high 25 points.
Harinder Sidhu, Jaspreet Singh, Erik Mejia, Shan Chahal and Oso Fregoso collected 13, 12, five, three and two points, respectively.
The Hawks improved to 20-1 on the year and 7-1 in the WAC standings following Friday's 62-33 win over host El Capitan.
Glukhovskiy tallied a career-high 32 points. He totaled 57 points in two games for the Hawks last week.
David had just seven points in Central Valley's setback at Patterson on Jan. 7.
"The first time we played Patterson, he missed a couple shots and got down on himself," Dickson said. "He's mentally tougher now. He's always been a good player."