By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Lady Dawgs hold off Wolves
Ceres High's varsity girls basketball team used a balanced scoring attack and stifling defense to defeat Sierra, 40-35, in Valley Oak League play Thursday night at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

"Overall, I think we did a good job," Bulldogs junior forward-guard Jode Johnson said. "Everyone stepped up."

Johnson scored eight of her team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter and served as the Bulldogs' main ball handler when Sierra pressed on defense.

"She's so quick," Ceres High head coach Shawna Nunes said. "It's hard to stay with her."

Bulldog sophomore guard Stephanie Yankovich tallied 10 points and six steals.

Junior guard-forward Aimee Gunzenhauser added nine points for Ceres High, which improved to 5-9 on the year and 1-1 in the VOL.

Senior center Heather Scharmann had a game-high 18 points for the Timberwolves (5-6, 0-2). Senior forward Sharisse Atkins totaled eight points. Senior post player Ariel McIntyre (15 points and nine rebounds per game) missed the contest with a concussion.

The Bulldogs forced 35 turnovers during the VOL battle.

"The defense was a major factor for us tonight," Nunes said. "We got after them."

Added Johnson: "We executed the game plan."

Ceres High held Sierra scoreless for the opening 7 minutes, 40 seconds en route to building a 19-12 lead in the first half.

The Bulldogs tallied the first eight points of the game. Johnson had six points off a layup, offensive rebound putback and mid-range jumper. Beck drained a jumper in the key.

Ceres High defender Lili Jaimes drew a charge with one second remaining in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Gunzenhauser scored seven points as she converted all but one of her foul shots. Yankovich made both of her free throws shots, while Johnson buried a close-range jumper.

Yankovich accounted for all eight of Ceres High's points in the third quarter. She hit a 3 from straightaway, converted a layup off a steal and completed a three-point play to give the Bulldogs a 27-13 lead at the 6:21 mark.

"She did a nice job," Nunes said.

Sierra closed the quarter on a 9-0 run to get within three. Scharmann had seven points, while Adkins added two.

Ceres High tallied the first six points of the fourth quarter to make it a 33-23 game with 3:37 left in regulation. Beck, Johnson and Gunzenhauser all scored inside after pulling down offensive rebounds.

The Timberwolves refused to go down without a fight. A 10-4 surge cut the deficit to four with 49 seconds remaining. Scharmann scored five points, Mariah Gary had three and Atkins contributed two.

Johnson and Jaimes helped the Bulldogs seal the victory. Jode sank two free throws and Lili made one of two from the charity stripe down the stretch.