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Late rally lifts Bulldogs over Manteca
Turlock girls 2
Freshman Jaydon Williams of Turlock forces her way past a Manteca defender during the first half of Wednesdays preseason win at home. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

The Turlock (5-6) High girls basketball team brushed off Monday’s seven-point loss to Livingston and bounced right back into the winner’s column with a home victory on Wednesday.

Jaydon Williams led all scorers with 15 points for Turlock and the Bulldogs were able to finish the game with a 7-0 run to fend off Manteca in the final 1:30 of play to close it 36-33.

“We talked about it all year, to get into the final last two minutes and make something good happen and they did that tonight,” said head coach Mark Musselman. “We know that if we are within two possessions with two minutes to go then we have a chance — and we also played great defense tonight.”

Turlock forced 11 steals and was able to control the tempo of the game from the onset.

Sophomore starters Hope Salsig and Sarah Musselman provided Turlock with a steady pace from the start of the game after both guards were able to control possession consistently.

It was a tough battle for both and Musselman fouled out late in the fourth quarter after playing relentless defense, forcing the opposition to contest for every loose ball.

The hard-nose defense from both ends forced tough baskets with many missed.

Turlock forced Manteca to take unorthodox shots and when they were open the Buffaloes missed late in the game.

“We dictated our tempo for their offense and it worked,” said Musselman. “The girls played outstanding defense. That’s a great effort, they did their job tonight. We are young but our girls are committed to playing defense.”

Turlock held to a 20-16 lead at the halfway mark but Manteca was able to outscore Turlock 10-4 in the third to take their first lead in over 14 minutes.

 The Bulldogs followed it with a 12-7 run in the fourth quarter but both sides battled in the ending minutes of the regulation.

Turlock kept pressing with their man defense and in the final minutes it was Musselman and Salsig that scored all 7 of Turlock’s final points to end the 7-0 run with the team’s fifth victory of the year.

“Everything prepares us for what is to come. We struggled offensively, but we picked it up on defense and that is what we always talk about,” Musselman added. “The rest will come, if you consistently play good defense it will work out usually, and our ball handling helped us a lot as well.”

Salsig finished with 10 points and Musselman added 4 points. Meghan Hopkins tallied 4 points for the game.

The next game for the Bulldogs will be against Lodi at home at 7 p.m.  Jan. 5.