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WAC season tips off
Head coach Vanessa Morris promoted Ryleigh Honberger to Ceres High's varsity girls basketball team as a freshman because of her tenacity.

"Last year was a learning experience," Morris said. "This year, she's really coming into her own. She works hard every day. She's always asking what she can do to get better. She doesn't have a low gear."

Honberger, Bryce Ford and Nicole Bates all scored 13 points during the Bulldogs' Western Athletic Conference season-opening 41-34 win over Livingston on Wednesday at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

"I'm not as talented as those two (Ford and Bates)," said Honberger, Ceres High's third-best player. "The only way I can contribute is my heart and hustle. That's all I can give."

Bulldog teammate Diana Salgado added two points.

Ashlee Sharp and Yareli Millan both tallied nine points for the Wolves. Brittany Sarrillo collected six points.

Ceres High led 24-15 at intermission.

The Bulldogs raced to a 15-2 lead in the first quarter. Honberger had 10 points. Ford, Bates and Salgado contributed nine, three and two points, respectively.

"We were ready for this game," said Honberger, whose team was blasted 54-40 by Sonora in non-conference play on Dec. 27 in Ceres. "I was finding spots that were open (because they were doubling Bryce and Nicole). I got easy buckets."

Ahead 29-25, Ceres High increased its lead to 10 midway through the fourth quarter.

Livingston cut the deficit to 37-32 at the 3:33 mark.

The Bulldogs outscored the Wolves 4-2 the rest of the way.

Ford buried a jumper in the key.

Bates made two foul shots. She totaled 10 points in the second half.

"I was really concerned," Honberger said. "Once we get down, we stay there. But we finished it. We worked together as a team. We're in a good spot. We can only get better."

"We were sluggish the whole game," Morris added. "We were able to pull through. It's always nice to start league off with a win. We need to keep building."

Bates had 12 points, Honberger scored nine and Ford tallied five during Ceres High's 46-28 loss to Central Catholic on Thursday in Modesto.

The Bulldogs (1-1) will play at Patterson this Thursday at 7:30 p.m.