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Noorzai guides JV Hawks past Lancers
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Yama Noorzai played a big part in the Central Valley High JV boys basketball team's fifth-consecutive victory. He scored 17 of his 19 points in the first half and the Hawks withstood a late rally to post a 61-49 win over East Union Friday night in Ceres.

“That's his best first half of the season by far,” Central Valley coach Darryl Dickson said.

Said Noorzai: “We were pumped up because we knew we were going to have a big crowd. We couldn't let them down.”

Trevor Mew, Sean McLeod and Gerald Garcia had 18, 13 and 11 points apiece for the Hawks, who improved to 14-3 overall, 2-0 in the Valley Oak League. Freshman power forward Chris Beleele also contributed. He replaced Tony Marques, who was sidelined with the flu.

“Great defense,” Dickson said. “Great rebounding. He stepped it up big time for us.”

Cody Lee tallied a team-high 12 points for the Lancers, who fell to 4-9 overall, 0-2 in the VOL standings. Eugene Alston and Josh VanderWerff both scored eight points. Chris Just and Greg Carroll had seven points apiece.

Central Valley outscored East Union 16-5 in the first quarter on 7-of-12 shooting. Noorzai had 11 points, including a 3-pointer and 16-footer from the left baseline, and three layups.

“I was in the zone today,” Noorzai said. “Coach kept telling me to shoot the ball.”

Added Dickson: “That's what we expect out of him.”

The Hawks extended their lead to 39-17 in the second quarter on 9-of-16 shooting. Central Valley buried five 3-pointers, including four in a row in the span of 2:24. Mew and Noorzai both made two. Garcia made one.

“You can't play a better second quarter,” Dickson said. “Great shooting. Great execution.”

Central Valley maintained a 24-point lead at the end of the third quarter. The Hawks tallied 11 points, two more than the Lancers. McLeod scored six points. He made two layups and two of four free throws. Mew added a 3-point play. Garcia converted a layup.

East Union cut Central Valley's lead to 10, 50-40, with 4:15 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Lancers scored 14 unanswered points. Carroll had seven, including two 3-pointers. VanderWerff had five, including two 3-pointers. Alston added two points.

Garcia ignited a 6-0 run, which extended the Hawks' lead to 56-40 with 2:16 to play. He converted a layup. Mew and McLeod both made two free throws.

East Union scored seven straight points to get within nine, 56-47, with 1:34 to play. Just and Garrett Jones converted layups. VanderWerff drained a 3-pointer from the right wing.

A 5-2 run in the final 1:08 helped Central Valley seal the win. Mew made a 17-footer from the right baseline and one free throw. Noorzai converted two free throws and registered a steal with 11.5 seconds left in regulation.

“I was a little worried because we let down before,” Noorzai said.

Added Dickson: “We're happy to get the win but they know I'm frustrated because we let them get back in the game. This is the fourth or fifth time we've given up points with a big lead.”

Central Valley blew double-figure leads in losses to Beyer and Los Banos earlier this season. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier