The Bulldogs of Turlock nearly topped Ceres High in the opening matchup of the 40th annual Godinez Basketball Tournament, but ultimately their final buzzer beater shot bounced in and out of the rim as the 'Dogs fell 42-40.
Day two was a different story for the 'Dogs who took on Valley out of Sacramento and played up to the young squad's standards from beginning to end, backed by the efforts of Adrian Espinoza, Arik Bains and Mustafa Noel-Johnson who all three scored in the double digits.
Espinoza had a game-high 19 points while Bains notched 13 and Johnson put in 11 as the Bulldogs topped Valley 61-50 in Friday's day-two bout.
“We came out with more energy today. In the first game against Ceres I think we came out flat,” said Turlock head coach Doug Cornfoot. “We are a young team and we are going to have growing pains and a lot of this is new to the guys and the mental preparation, getting mentally ready as well.”
The mental game seemed like it worked out for the ‘Dogs in day two after shrugging off the tight loss to Ceres. Against Ceres, the top scorer was Espinoza with 10 points. Everyone else had single digits.
Behind their consistency throughout the game, the Bulldogs managed to get out on top early and never let go of the lead.
Turlock closed out the first half with a 12-4 run to take a 26-21 lead at halftime, and from there it was all uphill.
A combination of Bains, Espinoza, Johnson and also freshman Everett Johnson as well as Cameron Sherwood and Michael Patterson led to the breakdown of the Valley defense.
“It’s the first time we played a team which was this big and athletic and I thought for the most part we handled their pressure,” said Cornfoot. “We still have to work on defending shooters and running our offense more efficiently, but we didn’t let them get back into the game and had some good looks.”
Turlock led by as many as 15 points for the game.
The second half belonged to the ‘Dogs, who closed out the third and fourth quarter with a fury of baskets from a plethora of players.
“We were more consistent throughout the game, we executed our game-plan and controlled the tempo a lot better as well,” said Cornfoot.
Turlock improves to 2-1 for the season.
The next game for Turlock will be against Ripon at 3 p.m. today.