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Golden Valley seniors lead way to CCC title

ATWATER -- Golden Valley reacted like it was an everyday occurrence.

As the final horn sounded on GV's 77-67 victory over Atwater and the conclusion of the Central California Conference season, a huge ovation rose up from the Golden Valley faithful.

The players celebrated their first conference title since 2004-05 with a quick group hug and a series of high-fives, then grabbed their bags and headed to the locker room.

No pomp. No fanfare.

Just a quick acknowledgment of its achievement and then business as usual.

"Donte, John and I talked when we were freshmen about winning a CCC title our senior year and going to Arco," Alex Fletcher said. "We're halfway there."

Merced secured a share of the title with an 85-74 victory over Buhach Colony.

Atwater (1-11 CCC, 6-20)threatened to rob GV (10-2 CCC, 23-4) of a piece of the festivities, jumping all over its guests 23-14 in the first quarter.

Colton Beatty was a man possessed in his final game, scoring 20 of his game-high 28 in the first half.

GV answered quickly.

With five seniors on the court, Keith Hunter's boys opened the second quarter with a 14-0 run to take a 28-24 lead.

"My hat goes off to Atwater, they didn't make it easy on us," Hunter said. "A lot of kids have one foot on the diamond this time of year, but John (Kane's) kids were ready to play."

Atwater weathered the GV push and trailed just 33-32 at the half.

The game went back and forth for most of the third quarter, but Kane's boys were undone late by one of their patented dry spells.

John Sykes took advantage, helping open up a double-digit lead with a few putbacks and transition buckets off of Atwater turnovers.

GV closed the quarter with a 13-6 run, building a 57-47 lead.

Atwater never recovered.

"We've had trouble scoring all year," Kane said. "They got a few turnovers and some putbacks and we just couldn't score.

"I'm proud of these guys' effort. I didn't ease up in practice and they never eased up in the games.

"That's something. We can look at ourselves in the mirror."

Sykes led GV with 22 points, Fletcher had 17 and Garrett Hill added 10.

Eriq Belt had 14 points for Atwater and Bryant La Count finished with nine.

"The seniors grew up playing basketball together," Sykes said. "It's very rewarding to put in all that effort and see it pay off."

At Atwater

Golden Valley 14 19 24 22 -- 77

Atwater 23 9 15 20 -- 67

GOLDEN VALLEY -- Alex Fletcher 17, John Sykes 22, James Stockton 2, Scott Livesay 7, Donte Scott 7, Garrett Hill 10, Justin Wootten 9, Daniel Garcia 3. Totals 29 10-17 77.

ATWATER -- Eriq Belt 14, Jose Rivas 8, Albert Martinez 3, Colton Beatty 28, Giovanni Dalmaso 1, Bryant La Count 9, Tou Lee 2, Andrew Rogers 2. Totals 24 11-23 67.

3-pointers: Golden Valley 9 (Fletcher 4, Wootten 3, Livesay, Garcia), Atwater 6 (Belt, Rivas 2, Beatty 3); Total Fouls: Golden Valley 21, Atwater 19.

Records: Golden Valley 10-2 CCC, 23-4; Atwater 1-11 CCC, 6-20.