Turlock High varsity boys basketball head coach Doug Cornfoot is thrilled about the start to a new year in a new league, but he also wants this year’s squad to get things rolling quicker than last season.
He’s going to rely on his captain Cam Sherwood to make sure that the entire team stays focused and on task. Sherwood is no stranger to leadership, as he had the same duties on the football field and was a vital part to the Bulldogs winning the first ever Central California Athletic League title there.
The hope is to do it on the basketball court, but in order to do so they need to get through Pitman, Downey, Enochs, Modesto and Gregori High.
“I think they are more excited than last season,” said Cornfoot. “I just want us to compete and it doesn’t take skill, just heart and I think if we compete and hustle, skill wise we have what it takes to be competitive and put ourselves in every game. But in the end, it just depends how bad they want it.”
Last year, Turlock started on fire winning their first four games — but followed it up with 10 straight losses.
They ended up going 10-4 in their final 14 games, including a 9-3 league record in the Central California Conference, finishing in second.
They went 14-13 overall.
From that squad, Turlock not only returns Sherwood, but also the big man and football standout Everett Johnson, who stands over 6-foot-8 and weighs over 300 pounds — a force in the paint.
Johnson is currently committed to play collegiate football at Cal Berkeley.
“The expectations for them is set pretty high,” said Cornfoot.
The veteran coach knows to get the job done, the whole team will have to buy into the Bulldog program.
“We want to just shoot threes sometimes but we have expectations and know how we want to run things…last year it took some time to buy into it,” said Cornfoot. “This year I just hope they buy into it sooner so that we don’t have that eight or nine game losing streak. We have a good core of returning varsity players, about seven of the 13.”
It will be a whole new lineup of league teams this year, however.
“Some of our guys played with the Modesto kids in travel ball, but I don’t think or know what to expect so we will have to see what they do. The kids are excited since it is a new league and in football, they were new league champs so now we talk about who it will be, and it gives them an incentive.”
Turlock will take on Chavez in the San Joaquin Showcase at 3 p.m. Nov. 24.