Turlock High is headed back to the Godinez Championship game.
After putting Ceres High down in the first round on Thursday, the Bulldogs hit their home court Friday night against Beyer High where they bashed the Patriots, 69-51. Now, Turlock will face off against Laguna Creek High in a rematch of last year’s championship game.
“Tomorrow is going to be a big test because Laguna Creek’s loaded. They got size, they got athleticism, they got shooters. It’s a good time at this point in the season to see what we’re made of,” Turlock head coach Doug Cornfoot said.
The first half of Friday’s game was a neck and neck battle between the former Central California Conference foes as the Bulldog trio of Kenny Fraser, Demsen McFaddin, and Devan Bains squared off against the likes of George Dancer, Julian Orozco, and Brent Wickstrom.
By halftime Turlock led by only three points, 28-25, but things quickly changed midway through the third period. Benefiting from Fraser’s size and ability to rebound and force turnovers by swatting shots, Turlock went on a 15 point tear and took a 14 point lead by the beginning of the fourth.
Guards McFaddin and Bains helped to maintain their teams lead as the former displayed consistency at the free throw line and the latter dropped treys from the perimeter.
“Our two guards, they’re the ones we want to control the tempo of our games,” Cornfoot said of the junior duo. “I think we got more depth than we’ve had in the past, so we’re able to sub guys and give them rest. Basketball smarts and being able to adjust and read what the defenses are doing, and our depth, is kind of what I think is helping us early on.”
Fraser ended the night with 7 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 10 points. Bains scored a team high 21 points and notched five steals. McFaddin tallied 19 points, pitched in 5 assists, and went 7 for 8 from the free throw line.
Turlock is now looking for its second consecutive Godinez championship in today’s 6 p.m. game, but hardware isn’t the source of the Bulldog’s motivation.
“I think these guys are really just looking at the challenge. They haven’t really talked about 'let’s get the championship,' I think we’ve talked more about how they’re a good team, let’s see what we got,” Cornfoot said. “We got to come in with that attitude. Leave the trophies and everything else outside. This is them against us; let’s see who comes out at the end.”
Though they played for the same title last year, Turlock and Laguna Creek are different machines in 2013 with new faces and schemes. What hasn’t changed, however, is the importance of the outcome and the implications it will have on the rest of the season.
“This is a good test to see exactly where we are,” Cornfoot said. “It’s going to be a big challenge to see if we can match their athleticism and intensity. If we can handle their speed and athleticism I think that will set a good tone for us in league.”