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Bulldogs cant match the Wildcats
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Turlock High’s 2011-12 boys basketball season officially ended Wednesday night at Franklin High. The Wildcats (22-5 overall) thwarted the Bulldogs’ (15-13 overall) post season aspirations for the third year in a row with a 61-37 victory in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Division I Section Playoffs.

Turlock experienced success against Franklin early in the game, moving the ball against the Wildcat defense to take an eight point lead. The Bulldogs’ shots began to miss their mark late in the first quarter, however, foreshadowing a disappointing second quarter that would see Franklin outscore Turlock 17-5.  At halftime Turlock trailed 36-18.

“They were just more athletic and played better than we did,” Turlock’s head coach Doug Cornfoot said.

The Bulldogs came out strong in the third quarter, matching Franklin point for point, but the Bulldogs still trailed. Turlock’s zone defense couldn’t contain Franklin’s speed and size and its man defense wore down quickly by the fourth quarter. The Wildcats’ free throw shooting also gave the Bulldogs trouble. Franklin went 15/17 at the line as Turlock finished 4/8. With less than a quarter left to play Cornfoot and his boys trailed by twenty points, prompting the coach to send in his reserves and prepare for next season.

“That second quarter just killed us,” Cornfoot said.

Turlock will graduate five seniors from this year’s team, including its team leader Alek Carlson. Holcombe, Tyler Murphy, and Austin Bush will be returning, providing a soon to be young Bulldog team much needed varsity experience. A deep field of JV players, including sophomore Sean Downs who scored seven points in the final four minutes of the Franklin game, will provide Turlock with a multitude of players to choose from.

“It’s going to be a competitive tryout,” Cornfoot said. “If these kids want to make the team next year, they’re going to have to up their game.”