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Hilgen provides spark in CHS win
Marcus Hilgen had a breakout game for Ceres High's varsity boys basketball team last week.

The junior point guard tallied 16 of his career-high 18 point in the second half as the Bulldogs held on to beat Manteca 65-57 in Valley Oak League play Friday night at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

"He attacked the basket well and made good decisions," Ceres coach Jim Pernetti said. "As he matures, we're only going to get better."

Added Hilgen: "It's not just my performance. It's the whole teams. Everybody played hard and executed."

Brett Sayad scored 13 of his 17 points in the first half and Thomas Vanderlaan had 10 points for the Bulldogs, who improved 7-7 on the year, including 1-1 in the VOL. Sophomore Justin Canatsy, who finished with seven points, turned in his most complete performance of the season. Lance Hunter (six points), Martino Bertolotti (three), Rajdeep Singh (three) and Tony Bradford (one) also contributed.

"We finally got a team effort," Pernetti said. "That's what we've been trying to get for a long time.

"Justin became a varsity basketball player tonight. He learned to play defense, played tough and put a few shots in."

Modesto Christian transfer Nick Scheible had a game-high 22 points for the Buffaloes, who dropped to 5-10 on the year, including 1-1 in the conference standings. Freshman guard Kiwi Gardner scored 18 points. Matt Gomez added eight points.

The Bulldogs outscored the Buffaloes 30-19 in the opening half. Sayad was unstoppable in the first quarter as he accounted for 10 of Ceres High's 14 points. Brett finished a perfect 6-for-6 from the free-throw line. He also scored on a tipin and converted a layup.

Manteca cut a 19-point second-half deficit to five three times in the fourth quarter before Ceres pulled away. The Bulldogs converted six of eight foul shots down the stretch to seal the win. Hilgen and Vanderlaan made both of their free throws. Canatsy and Singh drained one of two from the charity stripe. Justin also hit a layup.

"We got a little lazy," Pernetti said. "But we didn't panic. We played with confidence."

Added Hilgen: "I'm just glad we got the win. It's very big. Manteca's really quick and physical. They put their nose right to yours."

Hilgen finished with nine points in the third quarter and seven in the fourth.

"I guess I was just feeling it," he said.

The Bulldogs will play at Oakdale High School this Friday with tipoff slated for 7:15 p.m.