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Bulldogs hold Falcons to 31 in Turlock's second CCC victory
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The Bulldogs' Hope Salsig does not give her opponent the opportunity to steal the ball as she brings it down the court during Tuesdays win against Atwater. - photo by CANDY PADILLA / The Journal

Turlock head coach Mark Musselman has been preaching all year that defense wins games.

Tuesday night was the epitome of that after his Turlock Bulldogs defeated Atwater at home, 46-31, after losing in their first contest earlier in the year.

“It’s a nice win but it all goes back to defense, we held them and caused them to turn the ball over and we were able to take advantage of those turnovers part of the time,” said Musselman. “The first time we played them they went on an 18-3 run and we turned the ball over 35 times.”

This time, the Bulldogs managed to keep their turnovers to a minimum and were able to cut through the zone played by the Falcons on the defensive side.

Freshman Jaydon Williams led all scorers with 16 points and added 12 rebounds to finish with another double-double.

“I am always nervous out there but my teammates always give me courage to keep playing better and it’s all for the team,” said Williams.

Prior to Tuesday’s win, Turlock had lost seven straight to Atwater dating back to the 2012-13 season.

The last time Turlock had beaten Atwater prior to Tuesday’s game was on Feb. 9, 2012 after winning 50-44.

The Bulldogs were determined to win Tuesday night and it showed,  as Turlock never trailed for the entire game.

They cemented their status on the court going up 11-5 after the first quarter followed by a fair 18-11 lead at the half.

Turlock continued to keep Atwater uneasy for the final two quarters and it helped that they had Williams scoring heading into the second half.

Williams scored 12 of her 16 points during an 11-minute span from the end of the second quarter heading into the fourth. Of the team’s 18 points during that stretch, Williams finished with 12.

“We picked up our defense and we came out stronger this time and we pressured them and moved our feet really well this time, much better than the first time we played them,” said Williams.

Turlock outscored Atwater 14-12 in the fourth quarter to hold on to their second league win of the year.

The Bulldogs are now 2-4 in the CCC, still sitting in fifth place and must win out in order to even have a possibility of making the playoffs.

“We want to make the playoffs; we are working really hard right now but we will need to play good defense and take the ball to the basket and finish,” Williams added.

“Nothing is impossible, so even six wins could maybe get us in the playoffs with certain situations so the girls’ goal is still to win out, they don’t want to cut their tails and run,” Musselman added.

The next game for Turlock will be on the road against Merced at 7:15 p.m. Thursday.