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Varsity girls win twice
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The Ceres High varsity girls basketball squad is trying secure a top seed in the playoffs. Beyer is trying to keep its postseason hopes alive.

On Thursday night, the two teams clashed at Ceres High School. And for the third time this season, the Bulldogs won.

"Both of us needed to win this game," said Ceres coach Shawna Nunes.

Heather Mazza scored a team-high 11 points, Krystle Brown had nine points, and Jennifer Arnold and Meghan Franksen both added six points to lead the Bulldogs to a 42-32 victory over Beyer in Modesto Metro Conference play.

"I told them this is going to be like a playoff game," Nunes said. "We always have a hard time with Beyer."

Added Mazza: "We were ready to play."

With the win, the Bulldogs improved to 20-5 overall, 11-2 in the MMC. The Patriots fell to 5-8 in the league standings.

"I think this is a right step in the right direction for playoffs," Mazza said.

Shutting down Beyer's top player was key. Jessica Rosen scored 13 points, including just two in the first half.

"That's awesome," Mazza said.

"That was the ultimate goal."

Ceres led 19-12 at halftime. The Patriots got within two points, 12-10, with 4:55 remaining in the second quarter. The Bulldogs concluded the quarter with a 7-2 run. Kristen McClure made a layup. Donna Zaragoza buried two free throws. Arnold nailed a 3-point shot from the right wing to give Ceres a 19-10 lead with less than a minute remaining.

Stymied by Ceres' zone defense, Beyer managed to score just four points in the first quarter. The Patriots didn't do any damage from the perimeter.

"They did a good job of playing defense," Nunes said.

Beyer continued to battle in the second half. The Patriots got within six points three times, including once in the fourth quarter.

"They're scrappy," Mazza said.

"They play really hard man-to-man defense."

Ahead 31-25, Ceres put the game out of reach with a 10-0 run. The Bulldogs made four layups and 2 of 4 free throws in the span of four minutes, 22 seconds. Mazza, Arnold and Franksen scored four, three and two points, respectively. Brown added one point.

"Everybody played hard," Mazza said.

Ceres shot 36 percent (17-for-47) from the field and 54 percent (7-for-13) from the free-throw line for the game.

Beyer shot 32 percent (15-for-47) from the field and 67 percent (2-for-3) from the foul line.

The Bulldogs committed 18 turnovers. The Patriots had 17.

CHS tops Johansen

The Bulldogs buried 20 of 31 free throws en route to a 54-42 win over the Vikings in Modesto on Tuesday, Feb. 8.

Brown scored a game-high 17 points. She made 9 of 14 from the charity stripe. Franksen, Mazza, McClure and Arnold added 11, 10, six and five points, respectively.

Megan Lubinsky led Johansen with 11 points. Danielle Goynes scored nine points. Ivanna Hernandez and Cissy Denego each had seven points.

"We played horrible," Nunes said.

The Vikings trailed by just six points at the end of the third quarter.

Ceres outscored Johansen 17-11 in the fourth quarter. Mazza, Franksen and Brown had five, four and three points, respectively. McClure and Arnold both scored two points. Zaragoza added one point.

The Bulldogs led 29-21 at halftime. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier