Turlock High is walking out of week two of the Central California Conference boys basketball season with a perfect 2-0 record after Friday’s 80-61 blowout of Buhach Colony High.
With last week’s defeat of Golden Valley High—last season’s league champs—and Friday’s defeat of the Thunder—last season’s third place CCC team—the Bulldogs have established themselves as front runners in this year’s race for the CCC crown. Still, head coach Doug Cornfoot is taking caution as to not let his team get ahead of themselves.
“You beat a team like Golden Valley and you get that high, and the kids are coming down from that. Then there’s the period of time where they think they’re world beaters and you have to bring them back to reality,” Cornfoot said. “Every team in our league is better than what they were last year, so we’ve got to be prepared and come out and not take anybody lightly.”
Though the final score reads dominance on the part of Turlock, the first half was a different story. With a full week’s time between games and the typical high school hoopla associated with Winter Formal week, the Bulldogs came out and quickly found themselves trailing on the scoreboard.
A timeout and fiery pep talk put the ‘Dogs back on track, however, and by halftime they were back up, 43-32.
“Buhach— they graduated pretty much their whole squad from last year and they came out and battled,” Cornfoot said. “They came out and gave us fits, but I think in the second half I think we figured it out a little bit and started getting a little more aggressive in our trap and press and that widened our lead a little bit.”
Senior leader Kenny Fraser notched 11 points in the first half but with Thunder big man Kaden Verdin standing in his way, Fraser managed only three more points for the rest of the game. The second half lull from Fraser didn’t matter much, however, as Turlock tore through the thunder in the third and fourth periods, outscoring them 35-21 and leading by as much as 25 points in the latter stages of the game.
“He’s probably the only guy in our league right now who can match Kenny size for size,” Cornfoot said of Verdin. “He was there trying to change shots and we talked about penetrating and looking for the outside shot and I think we did a little better with that in the second half.”
Junior Demsen McFaddin led the charge in the second half as he, along with fellow junior Devan Bains, sparked an offensive uptick that knocked Buhach off balance. By the night’s end McFaddin finished as the team leader with 18 points.
“Him and Devon work well together. There’s games where Devon is the leading scorer and Demsen is more of a defender and then there’s games where they back off Demsen to guard Devon and then Demsen is just as effective offensively,” Cornfoot said of his junior tandem. “So it’s kind of a plus that they can both be looked at to be scorers.”
Next up for Turlock is Central Catholic High in this weekend’s MLK Showcase at Modesto Christian High, followed by its first Wednesday night league game against Merced High at home.