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Sports Year in Review, Part II
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Staff reports of the

Ceres (Calif.) Courier

Most Memorable games

1. Justin Canatsy and Lance Hunter struggled mightily as visiting Ceres High School's varsity boys basketball team faced a 17-0 deficit late in the first quarter of its Valley Oak League finale with crosstown rival Central Valley. Determined not to lose the last game of their prep careers, the duo stepped up when it mattered the most. Hunter tallied all 13 of his points in the final period, and Canatsy scored the go-ahead basket with 17 seconds remaining to give the Bulldogs a thrilling 50-49 comeback victory. Ceres High teammate Tyler Cummings chipped in with 10 points. The Bulldogs' student body rushed the court after Central Valley's Greg Mathews missed a potential winning shot at the buzzer.

2. Ceres High's varsity volleyball team secured a playoff berth on the final day of the Western Athletic Conference season. Upset-minded Central Valley almost played spoiler as it rallied from a two-games-to-none deficit before losing 25-16, 25-23, 22-25, 17-25, 17-15 to the visiting Bulldogs. Jamie Beck filled the stat sheet with 22 kills, eight digs, three aces, one block and one assist for Ceres High, which tied for second place in league play (7-3). Jessica Ellsworth had 28 assists, five digs, one kill and one ace. Central Valley's Alyssa Long collected 11 kills, 10 digs, four blocks and three aces. Hawk teammate Breanna Wideman added 23 assists, three digs and one ace. The Bulldogs improved their all-time record against the Hawks to 9-1.

3. Ceres High's and Central Valley's varsity girls soccer teams battled for bragging rights during their Valley Oak League finale. The back-and-forth contest appeared headed for a tie before Bulldog veteran Leah Rose scored from 23 yards out in the final 90 seconds to lift visiting Ceres High to a 1-0 win. Teammate Monika Martinez helped set up the play when she pressured a Hawk defender into a turnover. The ball deflected off Martinez's foot and rolled to Rose, who slotted a perfectly-placed shot behind Hawk goalkeeper Elizabeth Amaya. Central Valley found itself in a scoreless tie with Ceres High at intermission despite dominating possession. The fifth-place Bulldogs (4-10-2) held a three-point lead over the No. 6 Hawks (3-11-2) in the VOL standings.

4. Head coach Brett Johnson enjoyed every minute of the wild celebration following the Ceres High School varsity football team's 22-15 win over Ripon at Bulldog Stadium. The long-awaited victory snapped several streaks. Ceres High ended an 11-game skid dating back to the 2008 season. The Bulldogs lost their previous 12 season openers. Ceres High's defense secured the win with a goal-line stand in the closing seconds.

5. Ceres High School's varsity boys tennis team beat Manteca for the first time during head coach Brian de la Porte's four-year tenure. Tied at 1-1, the Bulldogs swept the final three matches to secure a 4-1 victory over the previously-unbeaten Buffaloes. Luis Ochoa, Wilson Liang and Harman Bains, Ceres High's top three singles player, and the Bulldogs' No. 1 doubles tandem of Raul Massie and Gurman Bains helped put pressure on the Buffaloes by winning the opening sets of their respective matches. Ceres High and Manteca shared the Valley Oak League championship.

6. Central Valley High School's varsity girls basketball team pulled off one of the biggest wins in its four-year history. The sixth-place Hawks upset playoff-bound Sonora, 44-36, on Tuesday, Feb. 9 in Ceres. Sick with the flu, Myra Naranjo came off the bench to score 12 points, grab four rebounds and dish out four assists for the Hawks (4-10 Valley Oak League). Eva Noorzai, Alyssa Long, Phylicia Martinez, Vivien Fermil and Valerie Olide also played key roles in Central Valley's hard-earned victory. The Hawks executed their game plan to perfection en route to building a 14-9 lead in the first half.

7. For the fourth straight year, Central Valley beat Ceres High in varsity football. Tyree Jones rushed for a school-record 391 yards and three touchdowns, and younger brother Greg Tripp caught three TD passes as the Hawks rolled to a 55-24 win over the Bulldogs. Central Valley put the game out of reach by tallying touchdowns on four of its final five possessions. Cameras flashed as Hawk players and coaches hoisted the Ceres Classic trophy into the air minutes after the crosstown battle ended.

8. Central Valley's and Ceres High's varsity baseball teams each earned a victory during their two-game, Valley Oak League series. Both teams have won four times since the rivalry was established in 2007. The Hawks squandered a four-run lead before securing a 9-5 win against the Bulldogs at Art McRae Field. Central Valley pitcher Greg Guerra scattered eight hits and struck out 11 batters. Scott Myatt gave the Hawks some much-needed breathing room when he blasted a three-run homer over the left-field fence in the top of the seventh inning. He struck out twice earlier in the game. The Bulldogs overcame an early two-run deficit and edged host Central Valley 4-3 during the first meeting. Ceres High's Dustin Baisdon allowed just four hits and tallied seven strikeouts. He pitched six scoreless innings after a rocky start. The Bulldogs scored the winning run in the top of the seventh inning. Nick Welsh singled and sprinted home all the way from first on Brent Ward's double into the left-center gap.

9. Central Valley High School's varsity girls golf team upset third-place Ceres High 171-178 at St. Stanislaus. The Hawks entered the Western Athletic Conference match with just three wins. Central Valley lost by 28 strokes, 161-189, to the Bulldogs earlier in the year at River Oaks. Martina Bernal, the Hawks' No. 3 player, shot a season-best 11-over-par 39 during the rematch. She parred the No. 2 and 3 holes. Central Valley teammate Wynter Bratenas also bested her previous-low score. She parred the No. 8 hole and finished with a 9-over-par 37. Central Valley's Jocelyn Camarillo and Lizette Martinez shot 47 and 48, respectively. Arleen Xayasone, Ceres High's top player, fired a 12-over-par 40.




1. Pierce Butler, former Ceres High coach and Ceres School Board member, passed away at his home on Feb. 3. Butler, 81, was one of two coaches inducted into the inaugural class of the Ceres High Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008. Pierce coached multiple sports, including more than a combined 20-plus seasons with the Bulldogs' varsity boys and girls basketball teams. Ceres High's girls won six league titles and qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs six times under Butler's guidance (1980-1993).

2. Alejandro Garcia, a 2010 Ceres High grad and freshman distance runner at Modesto Junior College, brought home a seventh-place medal from the 2010 California Community Athletic Association Cross Country State Championships. He bested 210 other competitors at Fresno's Woodward Park. Alejandro climbed as high as No. 3 in the state rankings during the season. He won NorCal and Big 8 Conference titles, placed first at the Pirate and Crystal Springs meets, and finished third at the Fresno Invitational.

3. Former Ceres Unified School District athletes Ray Green and Latrisha Jordan both competed at the NCAA Division I West Regional Track and Field Championships in Austin, Texas. Green, a 2007 Ceres High grad, soared a personal-best 50 feet, 63/4 inches en route to a 20th-place finish in the triple jump. The mark is No. 2 on UC Davis' career list. Green captured the Big West championship in the triple jump (49-9.75) earlier in the season. Jordan, a 2008 Central Valley grad and Fresno State standout, placed 21st in the 400 hurdles (1:01.07). Latrisha successfully defended her WAC title (59.20) the previous week in Louisiana.

4. Ceres High School's varsity softball team lost 7-1 to East Union and had its string of consecutive CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoff appearances snapped at 24 seasons. The Bulldogs won more than 500 games, advanced to the section title game four times (took first in 1995) and captured 12 league titles during the remarkable run. Ceres High totaled 17 wins, nine losses and one tie this year. The fourth-place Bulldogs (11-5) finished nine games ahead of crosstown rival Central Valley (2-14) in the Valley Oak League standings.

5. Vaneza Hoover, a 2009 Ceres High graduate, starred on the Humboldt State softball team as a freshman. The right-handed pitcher compiled a 14-10 record with a 3.08 ERA, 17 complete games, three shutouts, 97 strikeouts and 67 walks in 163.2 innings. She helped propel the Lumberjacks to a 32-23 overall record and fifth-place finish (21-15) in the California Collegiate Athletic Association. Chico State edged out Humboldt State for the fourth and final berth to the CCAA Softball Championships. Vaneza was also a model student-athlete. She attended study half every other day and obtained a 3.2 GPA while carrying 21 units last semester.

6. Monica Hall, a 2006 Ceres High graduate, completed a two-year stint with the University of South Carolina Upstate softball team. The senior right-fielder started 53 games this past season for the Spartans, who topped the 40-win mark for the first time during their three-year history at the Division-I level and advanced to the title game of the A-Sun Tournament. Monica batted .281 (43-for-153) with two homers, 12 doubles, 21 RBIs, nine runs and three stolen bases. On defense, Hall made no errors and totaled 15 putouts.

7. Former Ceres High varsity boys basketball star Brett Sayad signed a national letter of intent with Cal State Stanislaus. The 6-foot-6, 210-pound guard/forward spent the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons at Modesto Junior College. Brett earned Big-8, all-conference honors. He averaged 14.4 points and 6.3 rebounds as a sophomore. He buried 146 3-pointers during his career.

8. Brett Johnson, head coach of Ceres High's varsity football team, was relieved of his duties following a 1-9 campaign. The Bulldogs posted a combined record of 7-43 under Johnson's guidance from 2006-10. Former Bulldog leader Bret Durossette was named as his replacement.

9. The Ceres Dolphins recreational swim club experienced a significant increase in enrollment. Approximately 180 boys and girls, aged 3-18, participated. Ceres had just 35 members at the beginning of the 2009 season. The Dolphins concluded the 2010 campaign with a fourth-place showing at the Mid Valley Swim League championships at Pitman High School. Ceres finished ahead of the Manteca Dolphins, Oakdale Gators, Modesto-Stanislaus Sharks and Turlock Marlins.

10. Over 1,200 boys and girls, aged 4-14, signed up for the Ceres Youth Soccer Organization's 27th recreational season. Outgoing president Lou Toste thanked every player and parent while passing out trophies during the final day of competition at Ceres River Bluff Regional Park. The league consisted of 75 teams. CYSO fielded under-6 boys and girls teams for the first time. More than 250 youngsters participated.

11. The Ceres Cowboys continued their dominance against the Ceres Seahawks.The varsity youth football team captured the Ceres City Championship perpetual trophy for the second straight season with a 28-12 victory at Bulldog Stadium. Running back Kelly Love rushed for 78 yards and one touchdown on four carries for the Cowboys (8-4). He also had a 26-yard TD reception. Quarterback Eric Lane tallied two touchdowns, including one rushing. All-purpose player Angelo Bermudez totaled 71 yards and one TD. Running back Miguel Hernandez scored twice for the Seahawks (4-7).