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Morris has successful coaching debut with CHS girls program
It didn't take long for Ceres High School's varsity girls basketball team to notch its first win under new leadership.

The Bulldogs opened the 2011-12 season with a 35-20 victory over Lathrop on Tuesday, Nov. 29 at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

"It's our first game," Ceres High rookie head coach Vanessa Morris said. "We'll get better."

Morris had a successful debut in front of her predecessors, Shawna Nunes and Phil de la Porte.

Shawna and Phil chatted with their former player after the game.

"I was very happy they were here to support me," said Vanessa, a 1996 Ceres High grad. "They've been a big part of my life."

Junior standout Bryce Ford played for Nunes and de la Porte the past two seasons.

She scored a game-high 21 points against Lathrop, including 11 straight during a momentum-shifting run in the fourth quarter.

"All three of them (Shawna, Phil and Vanessa) have the same way of coaching," Ford said. "They expect a lot from you."

The Ceres High-Lathrop game was up for grabs until the Bulldogs took control with a 13-0 surge in the final period.

"We had moments where we played really good and frantically," Morris said. "I'm happy for the girls. They did all of the work."

Vanessa was assessed a technical foul with three minutes left in regulation. She was punished for sticking up for her players. Morris questioned a no-call on the offensive end.

"I want to make sure I'm a good leader for Ford could develop into one of Ceres High's all-time greatest players. She won the Western Athletic Conference MVP award as a sophomore. Bryce averaged 18.0 points and 9.7 rebounds.

Morris had productive four-year varsity career with the Bulldogs. She averaged 28.9 points per game while propelling Ceres High to a 31-1 overall record, undefeated Central California Conference campaign (16-0) and Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II semifinal playoff appearance as a senior.

Vanessa played for Nunes for three seasons.

Morris earned a basketball scholarship to Oregon State and finished her playing career at Cal State Stanislaus.

She's also helped run the Bulldogs' summer hoops camp the past 14 years.

"I hope to carry on the tradition at Ceres High (as a coach)," she said.

The Bulldogs were a model of consistency under Nunes' guidance.

Shawna, with assistance from Phil, led Ceres High to a 365-142 overall record, one section championship, six league titles and 15 playoff berths in 18 seasons.

"I'm happy for Vanessa," Nunes said. "She'll do a fantastic job. She's so passionate about the game. She's going to get the most out of the kids." my team," she said.