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Lady Dawgs prevail at Bear Creek
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The Ceres High varsity girls basketball team returned from a two-week break and rolled past Bear Creek 43-34 Thursday night in Stockton.

Playing for the first time since taking first at the Ceres Lions Club Tournament on Dec. 17, the Bulldogs (9-2) struggled through a lackluster first half before pulling away in the final 16 minutes.

“They were very physical,” Bulldogs center Kristen McClure said. “We had to work for every shot.”

McClure, Heather Jones, Jessica Mazza, Jennifer Arnold and Jordan Nash, Ceres High's starters, combined for 42 points.

McClure led the Bulldogs with 15 points, including nine in the second half. Jones scored eight of her 11 points in the fourth quarter. Mazza and Arnold had six points apiece. Nash added four points.

Anjanette Henderson led the Bruins (7-5) with 12 points, including 10 in the second half. Erica Butler, Princess Rehman, Bridney Reese and Brigid Seely added six, five, four and three points, respectively.

Ceres High outscored Bear Creek 29-18 after intermission. The Bulldogs shot 44 percent (11-for-25) from the field and 78 percent (7-for-9) from the free-throw line. The Bruins shot 22 percent (6-for-27) from the field and 50 percent (4-for-8) from the foul line.

Ceres High scored 20 points in the paint.

“We were running our man-to-man offense,” Bulldogs coach Shawna Nunes said. “It made it easier for us to get our passes inside.”

Ceres High accounted for 12 of the 19 points in the third quarter, including eight of the first 10. The Bulldogs made four layups, including two by McClure, and one by Jones and Arnold. McClure's second basket put Ceres High ahead 22-18 with 3:31 remaining.

Bear Creek responded with a 5-0 run and led by one, 23-22, at the 1:58 mark. Henderson converted a layup off a steal and

buried two free throws. Butler made one of two foul shots.

Ceres High scored the final four points. Nash made a layup, and Arnold registered a steal and converted a layup to give the Bulldogs a 26-23 lead heading into the final quarter.

The Bulldogs scored 17 points in the fourth on 5-of-12 shooting. They also made seven of nine free throws. The Bruins tallied 11 points on 4-of-14 shooting. They made one of four foul shots.

McClure made three of four free throws, and Jones buried a 12-footer to put Ceres ahead 31-23 with 5:27 remaining.

Jones sparked a 12-8 run, which helped increase Ceres' lead to 12, 43-31, with 17.3 seconds left in regulation.

The Bulldogs made four layups, two by Jones, and one by Arnold and McClure. Jones and Nash both made two free throws.

“We played really hard and worked as a team,” McClure said.

Henderson buried a meaningless 3-pointer on the Bruins' final possession.

Ceres High trailed 16-14 at the break. McClure and Mazza both scored six points. Jones and Cassie Rayford had one point apiece. - By DALE BUTLER /Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier