Simply, the shots weren’t falling. Some of them were high-percentage shots, the kind that the Turlock High girls basketball players see during warm-up drills. So coach Salinda Mabie supplied a simple message for her Bulldogs.
“Forget about the first half,” she told them. “The shots will fall. You gotta believe in it.”
Perhaps Mabie couldn’t have predicted how often those shots would fall in the third quarter, rendering crosstown rival Pitman High into almost a paralyzed state. The Bulldogs marched on with a well-executed fullcourt press that created many turnovers, which led to easy scoring opportunities in a 60-28 blowout win on Tuesday night inside a nearly packed Bulldog Arena.
Turlock was ahead 22-16 at halftime.
“We were passing the ball, swinging the ball around, getting open looks and making our layups and shots,” Turlock guard Kayla Schumann said.
Yep. That pretty much summed up the third quarter, when the Bulldogs outscored Pitman 23-2 to go ahead 45-18. Camille Roberts exploded for 12 of her 21 points in that period, as her team jumped out to an unstoppable 19-0 run.
“Camille Roberts got hot,” Mabie simply stated.
Schumann and Lindy Avila added 12 and 7 points, respectively, as the Bulldogs didn’t let up on their fullcourt press until midway through the fourth — when they were ahead by 38, the game’s biggest margin. All those numbers helped Turlock to a 10-0 record in the Central California Conference standings, as the Bulldogs’ league winning streak is now at a mind-blowing 34 games.
It was the second time Turlock has beaten the Pride (17-6 overall, 9-2 CCC) this season, meaning the Bulldogs remain in complete control of their fourth consecutive league title with just one meeting left between the crosstown rivals.
Here’s also another interesting number: eight. That’s how many points Pitman’s Jasmine Washington, the league’s reigning MVP, finished with — a figure that’s well below her 20-point season average. The Bulldogs were also able to stop Parmine Randhawa, who had 21 points in her team’s first meeting with the crosstown rival but finished with just one bucket — a late-game 3-pointer — in Tuesday’s showdown.
“Today’s game was really a team effort,” Mabie pointed out.
The Bulldogs were also playing with an invisible cloak. This was the first game they’ve played since the Sac-Joaquin Section released its first of three power ratings, which determine the top 16 playoff teams in each division, and placed Turlock as the No. 3 seed in the Division I.
“We’re happy with it,” Mabie said of the seeding. “It’s still early, but today we played like a No. 3 team.”
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail email@example.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.