It was more than just another basketball game Monday night when Turlock Christian High hosted its arch rival Ripon Christian High. The less than spacious Calvary Baptist Gym was packed to the gills as both Eagles (14-3 overall, 4-0 SAL) and Knights (9-6 overall, 3-1 SAL) supporters watched from the bleachers, hallways, and even the floor as the defending Southern Athletic League Co-Champions had it out.
While one former Turlock quarterback wowed the nation in San Francisco on Saturday, another was on the other side of the country doing his best to put in an impressive performance of his own and turn the heads of some college coaches.
Hilmar High notched its first Trans Valley League win Thursday night with a 62-57 victory over Riverbank High at home. The Lady Yellowjackets (13-3 overall, 1-2 TVL) struggled early with inaccurate shooting and a lack of offensive rebounds, but by the end of the first quarter they had beat the Bruins (11-5 overall, 1-2 TVL) back and taken the game's momentum with fast break layups and a peppering of perimeter shots.
Turlock High won its first Central California Conference dual meet of the season on Wednesday when Atwater High came into town and dropped all but one of the night's 14 matches. The Bulldogs (7-3 overall, 1-0 CCC) finished with 68 team points to Atwater's 3, a number boosted by seven pins, two technical falls, and a major decision.
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.
The Pride of Pitman came into their second game of the 38th annual Frank Godinez tournament against Laguna Creek - which had to forfeit their first round game due to Thursday's storm -with hopes of turning things around after a crushing first round loss to Beyer High.
Another solid effort from Turlock High on the court has landed the Bulldogs in the finals of the Frank Godinez Boys Basketball Tournament for the third year in a row.
Things are finally shaping up for Denair High boys basketball coach RJ Henderson, with the help of assistant head coach Garett Elliott and the commitment from this year's team.
With football being such a rich and successful tradition at Hilmar High, it seems like the basketball program takes the back seat - especially after coming away with only one winning season since 2007.
Pitman High volleyball has been synonymous with dominance in 2014. The Pride steamrolled nearly every opponent they faced this season with its combination of size, power and speed. And when a team rose to the occasion to provide Pitman with a challenge, its girls seemed to persevere through sheer force of will.
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