A rematch of last year’s Godinez tournament championship game between Turlock and Laguna Creek High was held Saturday night at Turlock High, and spectators were not disappointed as late free-throws became the critical deciding factor in a rocky game.
After defeating Ceres and Beyer, Turlock was looking to replay last year’s championship game with a better outcome. The 'Dogs got their wish with a second shooting half craze that lifted them atop the Cardinals, 51-45, to give Turlock its third Godinez trophy in the last five years (2009, 2012 and now 2013).
“It means so much, we work so hard and I think they thought they could take us; but we fought great as a team so we were able to pull it out,” Turlock senior Kenny Fraser said. “At the beginning we felt a bit intimidated, but as the game carried along we became more comfortable and were able to man up and play better and came back.”
Early on, costly turnovers became fast break points for Laguna Creek who ended up taking a 22-16 lead going into halftime as they held the Bulldogs to a shooting percentage of under 35.
“It’s kind of how it’s been for us lately, which is the first half we take a while to get going then in the second half we seem to get in a better rhythm,” Turlock head coach Doug Cornfoot said.
An opening three point shot extended the lead to nine—the biggest lead for the Cardinals—but the Bulldogs retaliated with an arsenal of offensive attacks — along with aggressive defense led by Sean Downs, Fraser, and Trevor Cook.
Steady defensive plays and critical rebounds allowed the ‘Dogs to go on a 17-3 run to end the third.
Along with key free throws made in the second half— led by Fraser who sank 5-of-6—the Bulldogs surged and eased their way into their second consecutive title.
“The big thing, like I told them, is getting the free throws down the stretch, that gave us that four, five point lead and then if they hit a three it wasn’t panic time because we still had another possession, the little things we did right tonight,” Cornfoot said.
Fraser earned the tournament MVP award after finishing the night with a double-double—25 points and 13 rebounds. Demsen McFaddin finished the night with 13 points and three assists, which earned him the Most Outstanding Player award.
“I trained a lot in the off-season and I got a lot stronger I think,” Fraser said. “The win shows we are pretty much a family, we all love each other and play great together. It’s the best team we have had in a while, as far as being a team, and that helps a lot.”
Turlock will next travel to Lincoln High with the game set to begin at 7 p.m. today.