By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Wild comeback
Ceres High School's varsity boys basketball team couldn't have scripted a worse start to its Valley Oak League finale with crosstown rival Central Valley.

Shooting guard Justin Canatsy fired several airballs, and post player Lancer Hunter had trouble finishing inside as the Bulldogs fell behind 17-0 late in the first quarter.

Determined not to lose the last game of their prep careers, the two seniors 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 Ceres High a memorable 50-49 comeback victory over the Hawks Friday night at Central Valley.

"It was amazing," said Lance, who found himself engulfed by a sea of jubilant Bulldog fans. "The best feeling in the world."

"Everyone thought it was over," Canatsy added. "We never got nervous."

Justin totaled just eight points, none bigger than his final basket.

Tyler Cummings, Edgar Lopez and John Dhillon added 10, eight and seven points, respectively.

Katero Lebeau and Chris Hilgen both contributed two points for Ceres High, which finished the year with a 13-14 overall record and placed fourth in the Valley Oak League standings (7-9).

Greg Mathews led the Hawks (4-23, 2-14) with 12 points. Jamal Wessinger had nine points. Brian Blunt and Salinder Singh both tallied eight points. David Griffin and Hector Jacobo scored seven and five points, respectively.

Ceres High trailed the entire way until Canatsy converted a layup from the right side.

"No one on their team can stop me one on one," Justin said. "I just took it to the rack."

The Hawks nearly won on the final play of regulation but Mathews' 16-footer from straightaway bounced off the back of the rim at the buzzer.

"It hurts," Greg said. "I thought we had it."

Unable to match Central Valley's intensity for most of the first quarter, Ceres High's players never stopped battling.

The Bulldogs trailed by just nine points, 26-17, at halftime.

"It was calm in the locker room," Canatsy said. "We knew we'd make a push. They played their best in the first half. We played our worst."

"Everything went my way in the fourth quarter," Hunter said. "I just focused more. It was a senior miracle. It means a lot."

Tim Garcia, Central Valley's assistant coach, attributed his team's demise to several things.

"It was a really good game," he said. "Unfortunately, we came out on the losing end. Fatigue set in. We started making poor choices. The kids are pretty devastated."

Hunter, Canatsy and their Bulldog teammates were elated. They'll remember the stunning comeback for the rest of their lives.

"It ranks No. 1," Lance said.

"The feeling in indescribable," said Justin, who provided the late-game heroics.