NEWMAN -- Dan Hulst was fully aware of his rights.
After Central Catholic's 56-48 victory at Orestimba on Friday night, the Raiders were in the early stages of celebrating their Western Athletic Conference co-championship with Livingston when Hulst punctuated the moment.
"Call it want you want, but we beat Livingston twice," Hulst said. "I think that counts for a lot."
At that point, Hulst was reminded he's a junior and everything he was saying for publication could and would be used against him next year on the court.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Merced Sun-Star
"It's fine with me if Livingston wants to shoot for me next year," Hulst said. "We beat them twice this season."
The Raiders (22-5 overall) and Wolves finished the season with identical 12-3 WAC records and cannot meet again this season. Central will be moving into the Division IV playoffs while Livingston is a Division III team.
Meanwhile, Orestimba might not be done for the year. The Warriors struggled through a 2-11 WAC campaign, but their 13-12 overall mark might be good enough to squeak into the Division IV playoffs. They'll discover their fate Sunday when the brackets are released.
Orestimba would have been a slam-dunk playoff entry had they pulled off the upset of Central Catholic, and looked to have a shot after finishing the first quarter on an 11-2 run to lead 16-8 after the first quarter.
But about that time the Raiders switched from their man-to-man defense into a 2-3 zone, and the Warriors' shots stopped falling for the entire second quarter as Central's defense pitched a rare shutout. The eight minutes of Orestimba zero gave the Raiders a 24-16 halftime lead.
"We don't have a person who can post up, so when people play zone against us we have to hit from the outside or we don't have any place to go," said Warriors' coach Rob Pecot, whose team got 12 points from both Ravonne Pious and Chris Messer.
Central Catholic had its way inside. Hulst finished with 23 points, while Dusty Killian had 12 as the Raiders pulled away to leads as large as 16 points in the third quarter.
Orestimba, which dressed only nine players, picked up the intensity in the fourth quarter, scattering the floor and forcing the pace with swarming full-court pressure.
It worked for a while, as the Warriors twice pulled within six points, but the fouls began to mount and Central scored 10 points at the foul line in the fourth quarter to hold off the charge.
Bee staff writer Brian VanderBeek can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2300.