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Ladies rally over Los Banos
Ceres High School's varsity girls basketball team trailed 20-13 at the midway point of its Western Athletic Conference clash with Los Banos this past week.

Vanessa Morris, head coach of the Bullldogs, didn't flip out while addressing her players in the locker room at halftime.

"I was being positive and letting them know I had confidence in them," she said.

Ceres High responded with a thrilling comeback.

The Bulldogs rallied for a 41-40 victory over the Tigers on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

Nicole Bates, Bryce Ford and Ryleigh Honberger tallied 13, 12 and 10 points, respectively, as Ceres High improved to 3-2 in the WAC standings.

Diana Salgado added four points, while Dia Borden had two points.

Jacquline Arretche totaled 18 points, including just six in the second half, for Los Banos (1-3).

Alexis Barcellos, the Tigers' top player, managed to score just 10 points. She was shut out in the third quarter.

"At halftime, we did some crazy things in the locker room to pump each other up," Ford said. "We did chants. We were screaming and yelling. We never lost confidence. We pushed each other."

Added Morris: "They feed off each other."

Ceres High outscored Los Banos 28-20 after intermission, including 14-4 in the third quarter.

Ford collected all 12 of her points in the second half, including eight straight during a span between the third and fourth quarters.

Bryce scored what proved to be the game-winning basket when she dribbled up court and buried a close-range jumper inside the key with 16 seconds left in regulation.

A minute earlier, Barcellos gave the Tigers a 40-39 lead with a pair of free throws.

"I was exhausted in the first half," Ford said. "I don't know why. I was getting frustrated. She (coach Morris) told me I needed to get to the basket more. Sometimes I hold myself back when I don't need to. If I'm aggressive, my team's confidence level goes up."

Added Morris: "We're not going to lose confidence in her."

Ceres High beat Los Banos despite missing 12 of 19 foul shots, including four straight in the final 2:30.

"The game wouldn't have been that close if we made free throws in the end," Morris said. "I'm still happy. We worked as a team. My kids work hard all the time on the court and in the classroom. I don't have to worry about that."