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Ladies' defense keys victory
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The Ceres High girls basketball team didn't panic after falling behind 19-8 in the first quarter to the Golden Valley Cougars in Ceres Thursday night.

Ceres' defense limited Golden Valley to a total of 23 points in the final three quarters en route to a 53-42 victory. The Cougars managed to score just six points in the second quarter and five in the third quarter.

"They switched to that man-to-man defense in the second quarter and we didn't adjust to it very well," said Golden Valley coach Matt Thissen.

The Cougars committed 15 turnovers in the game, five more than the Bulldogs.

"We put more pressure on the ball and that helped us and hurt them," said Ceres coach Shawna Nunes. "They weren't expecting it."

Ceres improved to 7-2 in the Central California Conference standings, 17-6 overall. Golden Valley fell to 4-5 in the CCC, 13-12 overall.

The Bulldogs edged the Cougars 48-45 in Merced on Jan. 27.

"They were able to get us twice this year," Thissen said.

"Shawna does a great job with her kids."

Seven players scored for Ceres, which shot just 37 percent (7-for-19) from the free-throw line.

Krystle Brown scored a game-high 20 points, including 12 in the second half, Quantelle Daniels added 11 points and Jessica Mazza had eight points. Meghan Franksen, Heidi Eisenbeis and Kelsey Sayad had four points. Heather Jones had two points.

Five players scored for Golden Valley, which shot 62 percent (13-for-21) from the foul line.

Christie Bryant finished with a team-high 18 points, including eight in the first quarter. Nicole Sandino and Fabi Sandoval had eight points. Kim Spinardi and Brittany Rouzan added five and two points, respectively.

Bryant, Sandino, Sandoval and Rouzan helped put the Cougars ahead by 11 in the first quarter. Bryant, Sandino, Sandoval and Rouzan scored eight, five, four and two points, respectively.

Led by Mazza, Ceres outscored Golden Valley 10-4 in the final 5:19 of the first half. Mazza scored four of her career-high eight points in the span of 17 seconds to give the Bulldogs a 24-23 with 2:07 remaining. Ceres trailed by one, 25-24, at halftime.

The Bulldogs led by seven, 37-30, at the end of the third quarter. Ceres outscored Golden Valley 16-12 in the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs outscored the Cougars 45-23 in the final three quarters.

"We gave up too many easy looks to them," Thissen said.

Ceres 60, Merced 55

The Bulldogs overcame a slow start and downed the Bears in the Merced High Gym on Tuesday, Feb. 3

Ceres improved to 6-2 in the CCC, 16-6 overall, while Merced fell to 3-5 in league, 11-12 over- all.

The Bears scored the first six points and led 17-11 at the end of the first quarter.

Ceres outscored Merced 14-7 in the second quarter and led by one, 25-24, at halftime.

The Bears evened the score at 45-all in the third quarter. Ceres outscored Merced 15-10 in the fourth and decisive quarter.

All nine of Ceres' players scored.

Quantelle Daniels had a team-high 11 points. Krystle Brown scored 10 points. Meghan Franksen and Heidi Eisenbeis had eight points apiece. Heather Mazza and Heather Jones had six points. Jennifer Arnold, Kelsey Sayad and Jessica Mazza added five, four and two points, respectively. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier