Turlock High’s hopes for a Division I Sac Joaquin Section title were dashed Wednesday night in Elk Grove when the Bulldogs (17-11 overall, 7-3 CCC) faced Franklin High. After a lack luster first half, Turlock climbed its way back into the game but was ultimately unable to overcome Wildcats. The final score read 67-65.
“They came out on fire and we came out kind of flat,” Turlock’s head coach Doug Cornfoot said. “We made adjustments at the half and got back into the game but we never got that stop to put us ahead or make it a one possession game.”
Turlock entered the game believing Franklin’s strength lied inside the paint but were quickly surprised by a slew of outside shots including four first quarter treys. Still, by the end of the first quarter Turlock trailed by only four points, but that quickly changed.
Multiple turnovers and careless passes spurred a second quarter Franklin run that crushed Turlock’s momentum and gave the Wildcats an 18 point halftime lead.
The Bulldogs weren’t out of the fight completely, though. Seniors DaShawn Holcombe and Austin Bush and sophomore Kenny Fraser led Turlock’s second half turnaround as they cut Franklin’s lead slowly but surely. With a steady stream of Wildcat pressure in his face, Holcombe was unable to find the basket as often as he had during the regular season and instead assumed the role of facilitator.
“They made it difficult for him to penetrate but it opened up a lot of outside shots for Austin and Kenny,” Cornfoot said of Holcombe. “He still had a solid game even though wasn’t able to score much.”
With five seconds left in regulation Turlock trailed by five points. A Fraser trey excited Turlock’s bench and made it a one possession game, but with no time outs victory proved to be just out of reach. Fraser finished the game with 29 points and went four for four from the three point line. Bush finished with 18 points and Holcombe finished with 10 points, five assists, and three steals.
“I give our guys credit. Down 18 points it would have been easy to give up but we fought back and made them sweat,” Cornfoot said.
Holcombe and Bush will be gone next season a long with five other seniors but with four of this season’s starters being underclassman, next year should be a bright one.
“We have a solid core coming back,” Cornfoot said.