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High stakes ahead for Golden Valley and Merced boys basketball teams

Bragging rights. A league title. Playoff implications.

Just about everything is on the line tonight when the Merced boys basketball team travels to Golden Valley.

"It should be fun," said GV coach Keith Hunter, whose team can pull even with Merced atop the Central California Conference standings with a win tonight.

"What else can you ask for? These kids have been dreaming about this since they've been in junior high."

Tip off is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.

Golden Valley (7-2 CCC, 20-4) defeated Merced (8-1, 16-8) 87-84 in an overtime thriller at Merced three weeks ago.

Hunter's boys will try to find a way to slow down Merced's Allen Huddleston, who leads the state in scoring at 32.7 points per game.

A Merced win would clinch at least a share of its third straight title for Huddleston and company with two games left in the regular season.

Merced came into the week ranked fifth in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I power ratings. Golden Valley is No. 3.

Expect a large crowd at Cougar Arena.

"It's an awesome feeling to be out there in front of a big crowd," Golden Valley senior Alex Fletcher said. "But once the game starts, it's all just background noise.

"All you hear are your teammates and coach Hunter."