On Tuesday night, the Turlock High girls basketball team was thrown into an environment that the girls hadn’t seen much of this season. They were inside the gym of their crosstown rivals, with hundreds of fans packing the stands — though the Turlock side might’ve had more people. They all roared when something significant happened.
That might explain why the Bulldogs went into halftime with just a small advantage after boasting what looked like an insurmountable lead.
The Bulldogs overpowered a relentless Pitman team in the final two quarters to win 56-41 and take sole possession of first place in the Central California Conference. This was a clash of unbeaten league teams, and it was hard to tell who would win for much of the game.
“The second half, we were able to get ourselves situated,” said Camille Roberts, who led the Bulldogs with 16 points.
The senior guard got scoring support from Kayla Schumann, who contributed 14, and Sarah McMullen and Natalie Dykzeul added 10 and 8, respectively.
The Bulldogs improved to 12-5 overall and 5-0 in the league standings, while Pitman dropped to 12-5 and 4-1.
Turlock was up 29-12 with 3 minutes, 23 seconds left in the second quarter before the Pride went on a 15-1 tear to cut the deficit to three — thanks in large part to guard Parmine Randhawa making the rim look like a hula hoop with three 3-pointers in that time span en route to a game-best 19-point performance.
“They allowed the pressure to get to us,” Turlock coach Salinda Mabie said, adding that her players might have let the large crowd get into their heads. “We had 12 turnovers in the first half, which was just unacceptable. Once we calmed them down, play within themselves and not try to do too much, they started doing some great stuff.”
That included keeping Pitman guard Jasmine Washington to just four first-half points, as she got half of her 12 points from the foul line.
The Bulldogs also held their crosstown rivals to a 5-point fourth quarter, opening the period with a 6-0 run to increase the lead to 50-36.
“We definitely picked up the intensity,” Roberts added.
The Bulldogs said the rivalry meetings won’t get any easier, considering the two teams are scheduled to play two more times. The same could be said for their other league games, though the three-time CCC champions extended their league winning streak to 29 games in beating Pitman.
“I think it’s going to get tougher each game,” Mabie said.
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