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Revenge win: CHS girls top Central Catholic
Bryce Ford and her Ceres High School varsity girls basketball teammates walked off the court to a loud ovation following last week's triumph over host Central Catholic in the First Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Game.

The Bulldogs avenged an earlier-season loss to the Raiders with a hard-fought 40-30 victory on Tuesday, Feb. 1.

Ceres High improved to 4-12 on the year and 2-4 in the Western Athletic Conference standings.

Central Catholic dropped to 8-12 and 1-6.

"It raises our confidence," Ford said.

Bryce, a 5-foot-10 sophomore, was unstoppable on offense. She managed to score a game-high 24 points despite sitting out half the second quarter because of foul trouble. Bryce also gave the Bulldogs an inside presence on defense.

"She made a big difference," Ceres High head coach Shawna Nunes said.

All seven of the Bulldogs' players chipped in during last week's bounce-back win. Ceres High lost for the first time to crosstown-rival Central Valley on Jan. 25.

Lili Jaimes and Bethany Mazza tallied seven and five points, respectively, against Central Catholic.

Jessica Ellsworth and Sabrina Rinsamout both collected two points.

Ashton Frampton and Elizabeth Nunes also contributed.

Ford scored four points, and Jaimes and Mazza each had three points as the Bulldogs stormed to a 10-1 lead in the first quarter. The Raiders were shutout during the opening 4:30.

The game appeared headed for a blowout before Ford picked up her second foul midway through the second quarter.

With Bryce on the bench, Ceres High had its lead cut from 12 to 5. Central Catholic, which trailed 19-14 at halftime, rallied on the strength of a 10-4 run.

"They scored more than we did but we didn't give up the lead," Nunes said.

Added Ford: I think they (my team) did a really good job on defense when I was out. I was on the edge of my seat. I kept asking to go back in."

Bryce shouldered the scoring load in the second half.

She accounted for 17 of Ceres High's 21 points.

Ford's close-range jumper gave the Bulldogs a 30-19 lead late in the third quarter. The Raiders answered with a 6-0 run in the final two minutes.

Nunes challenged her players before the start of the fourth quarter. Her orders included turning in a maximum effort.

"Work!" she exclaimed.

Ceres High outscored Central Catholic 10-5 in the final period.

Ford made four of five foul shots and totaled eight points.

Ellsworth converted a pair of free throws.

Mazza registered a key steal late in the game.

"They started diving for loose balls and boxing out," Nunes said. "When they play hard, they do good things."

Ceres High also cut down its turnovers.

The Bulldogs were hurt by a scoreless stretch of eight-plus minutes in a 43-37 loss to the Raiders on Jan. 6 at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

"We were up at our place and fell apart at the end," Nunes said. "Today, we handled the press."

"We shut them down more on defense," Ford said. "We knew what they were doing because we played them before."

Ceres High will play at Patterson this Thursday. The contest will begin at 7:30 p.m.