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JV boys place first
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Steven Downs' performance was dominant. Ceres High's 6-foot-6 center scored all 13 of his points in the first half in leading the JV Bulldogs to a 55-38 victory over Lodi at the Ceres Holiday Tournament on Thursday.

"His shot is going down now," said Ceres coach Jim Pernetti. "He was struggling for a while."

The Bulldogs took first with a 3-0 record at their own tournament, and improved to 8-1 overall.

Brett Sayad was named tournament MVP. Downs made the all-tourney team.

"It was a team effort," Pernetti said.

Ceres led 40-35 at the end of the third quarter against Lodi (4-8). Downs didn't play in the fourth quarter. He rolled his left ankle in the third quarter.

"His ankle wasn't good and defensively we needed to be quick," Pernetti said.

The Bulldogs outscored the Flames 15-3 in the final eight minutes. Lodi missed all 10 of its shots from the field.

Sayad scored 10 of his 13 points in the second half, including six in the fourth quarter. Chipponeri scored all seven of his points in the final quarter.

"Brett and Andrew responded well when we needed to play without Steven," Pernetti said.

Henry Shamoeil, DaArron Grays, Adarsh Brar, Ray Green and Ricardo Castellanos also contributed. Shamoeil, Grays, Brar, Green and Castellanos added seven, six, four, three and two points, respectively.

Alex Hanner scored a team-high 12 points for the Flames, who trailed 32-21 at halftime.

Ceres shot 35 percent (23-for-66) from the floor and 47 percent (8-for-17) from the free-throw line for the game.

Lodi shot 23 percent (14-for-60) from the floor and 54 percent (7-for--13) from the foul line.

The Flames had 20 turnovers, eight more than the Bulldogs.

Ceres posted a 60-45 victory over Weston Ranch in the second round of the tourney on Wednesday. The Cougars had a 9-1 record prior to facing the Bulldogs.

"You could tell they weren't used to losing," Pernetti said.

Downs scored a team-high 21 points, including 13 in the second half.

Sayad had 18 points, including nine in each half.

Chipponeri added six points.

Walter Jackson led Weston Ranch with 10 points. Brandon Silva and Matt Negus added nine and eight points, respectively.

The Bulldogs led 29-18 at halftime.

Ceres outscored Weston Ranch 30-27 in the second half.

The Bulldogs shot 58 percent (7-for-12) from the free-throw line.

Ceres won its tourney opener in grand fashion on Tuesday, Dec. 28.

The Bulldogs buried eight 3-pointers in beating Argonaut by 65 points, 94-29.

Approximately 10 players scored for Ceres, including Sayad, Grays, Downs, Castellanos, Shamoeil, Green, Chipponeri, Nick Pearson, Manpreet Atwal and Chad Hurt.

Sayad and Grays led the way with 17 and 14 points, respectively. Downs and Castellanos both scored 11 points. Shamoeil had nine. Green, Chipponeri and Pearson all had eight. Atwal and Hurt added six and two points, respectively.

The Bulldogs outscored the Mustangs 32-8 in the first quarter and led by 44, 56-12, at halftime.

Ceres led 80-19 heading into the fourth quarter.

"I'm not going to tell the kids they can't steal the ball and attack the basket," Pernetti said.

"We were nice to them. We could have scored 150."

Modesto High plays host to Ceres today at 5:45 p.m. The Bulldogs will be playing in front of a feverish crowd.

"I guarantee you it will be tough to deal with," Pernetti said. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier