In the recent past, the Central California Conference has been led by Turlock and Golden Valley High wrestling with Pitman High not too far behind. The Pride entered this season determined to re-shuffle those standings and on Wednesday, when the Cougars visited Pitman's gymnasium, they got their chance to topple last season's second place team.
Turlock High snapped a three game losing streak on Tuesday with a victory over Golden Valley High in the Central California Conference opener. The Bulldogs (1-0 CCC) trailed for most of the first half, but a second half comeback effort made it 49-45 by the end of regulation.
A matchup of champions took place Tuesday night between defending Central California Conference co-champs Pitman and Buhach Colony High. The Thunder (1-0 CCC), equipped with five returning starters from last season's team, were favored as they entered Pitman's gym but the Pride (0-1 CCC) quickly doused their confidence with a healthy dose of defense and inside shots.
Turlock High's December schedule was brutal. Over the span of three weeks, Bulldog wrestlers competed in the Clovis West Shootout, the Reno Tournament of Champions, and the Zinkin Classic; gaining valuable experience against top level competition.
Turlock and Laguna Creek High met on the court of Bulldog Arena for the second time this season Friday night. The last time the Bulldogs (9-7) and Cardinals (9-7) faced off the Godinez Championship was on the line and Turlock emerged victorious with an overwhelming 54-36 victory.
Hilmar High put up its most lopsided win of the season against Denair High on Thursday. After recovering from a four game losing streak with a victory over Turlock Christian High a week ago, the Yellowjackets continued their march forward with a 54-20 effort.
Pitman High's girls basketball team was having trouble putting the pieces together before this year's West Coast Jamboree. The Pride were putting points on the board and showing flashes of their talent but an inability to finish when needed put them on a downward slide into the losers' column.
This year's Ceres Holiday Tournament proved to be the perfect setting for the boys of Pitman High to undergo a growth spurt as a team. Sitting with a record of 2-8 before the tournament's opening day, the Pride showed a resilient determination towards improvement with strong performances and wins over Oakdale and Delhi High.
The Ceres Holiday Tournament was a challenge for Delhi High, but that's exactly what the Hawks were expecting. Rather than enter with hopes of a tournament championship, Delhi stepped onto Ceres' court with the aim to better itself through direct competition.
With a dual against Madera High, the Clovis West Shootout, and the Reno Tournament of Champions in its rearview, Turlock High added another marking point to its brutal pre-season schedule with the Zinkin Classic over the weekend.
Pitman High's basketball season wasn't looking so hot before the beginning of the 33rd annual Ceres Holiday Tournament on Thursday. The Pride were riding a seven game losing streak; but a 41-34 victory over Oakdale High in the first round ended that downward slide.
Turlock High hosted Manteca High Friday night and from the tip off it was apparent that the Bulldogs would have a difficult time wrangling the Buffaloes.
In recent years Pitman High has developed a habit of close competition with Buhach Colony High so when the Thunder hosted the Pride on Wednesday head coach Adam Vasconcellos knew exactly what to expect.
The scoreboard read 48-47 with 37 seconds left in regulation. Pitman High was clinging to its only lead of the night and on the brink of a hard fought team victory against an undefeated Hilmar High.
Delhi High's Monday night game against the girls of Big Valley Christian High was a chance for the Hawks to recover from four straight losses and a less than stellar showing at the Le Grand Tournament.
Four more Pitman High athletes will soon be joining the collegiate ranks after signing letters of intent on Tuesday. Quentin Hernandez, Cristian Clementi, Gilbert Valadez and Angel Velasquez each put ink to paper in front of friends and family for their individual colleges as Hernandez signed on to play football for George Fox University in Oregon and Clementi, Valadez and Velasquez signed on to wrestle for Grand Canyon University in Arizona, Luther College in Iowa and Northern Illinois University, respectively.
Turlock High girls soccer owned the 2015 season as far as the Central California Conference was concerned, edging out Merced High in a tight race for first place en route to the Bulldogs' fourth consecutive league championship. That momentum was put to a halt immediately in the post season, however, when Turlock traveled to Bella Vista High on Tuesday for the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Tournament.
Local golfers represented their schools well at CIF Sac-Joaquin Divisional Tournaments on Monday, with Turlock Christian placing third in the Division VI tournament and Turlock High taking fourth in Division I competition. Hilmar's Landon Azevedo, Turlock's Logan Adams and Turlock Christian High's Logun Lundquist will all advance to the Master's level after notching qualifying scores in their respective tournaments.
Monday marked the start of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for local high school tennis teams that included Delhi, Denair, Pitman and Turlock High. All but Turlock fell in the opening round after the Bulldogs edged out the visiting Folsom Bulldogs, 6-3, on Tuesday in a comeback victory.
Denair High tennis head coach Bill Weber has his sights set on a long and prosperous future the Coyote program and he is off to a good start. After Friday's Southern Athletic League tournament, Denair can boast two league winners in the mixed doubles and the boys singles brackets.
Turlock High won the final game of its three-game series with rival Pitman High Friday afternoon, beating the Pride 8-3 after falling 0-7 on Tuesday and 5-6 on Thursday. But while Pitman walked away from Turlock's home field in the loser's column on Friday, its boys exited the week as winners, at least partially, of the Central California Conference with only one win needed to claim the outright championship.
A local face will be taking over the Denair High School football head coaching duties.
Hilmar High's Jacob Ahid has been a small-town, valley boy all his life. He's developed as a baseball player from child to adolescent, but for the next step in his baseball career Ahid will be leaving Hilmar and heading to Seaside where he will become the newest addition to California State University, Monterey Bay.
The Hilmar High boys varsity golf team failed to pick up a Trans Valley League championship this past Monday at La Contenta Golf Course.
Pitman, which has been neck and neck with Merced all season long, placed second for both the girls and boys in the Central California Conference Championship meet that took place at Golden Valley High on Saturday to finish just behind Merced in the CCC.
Turlock High's Ryan Asai went into Tuesday's Central California Conference singles tournament with high hopes. The Bulldog boasted an undefeated record heading into the tournament, but met his match in Merced's Juan Ciudad in the semifinal round.
The Turlock High boys varsity golf team has won its fourth Central California Conference tournament in the last five years after edging out Pitman and Buhach on Monday at the Merced Country Club.
It was a defensive deadlock for the majority of Tuesday's cross-town showdown between Turlock and Pitman High. After four innings of solid pitching from the Bulldogs' Nick Avila and Pride's Nick Jones, the scoreboard read 0-0 and everyone was left questioning, who would falter first?
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