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New coach for Turlock girls basketball
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Jaydon Williams of Turlock High goes up for a bucket at practice. Williams is coming off an ACL tear and will be increasing her minutes as the year progresses (EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal).

It’s a new season for girls basketball and Turlock High’s varsity squad has a new head coach, but a familiar one—John Williams, last year’s assistant.

“They needed a coach and I helped last year, so I took over. The girls are used to me and I’ve been around all along and I coach in travel ball as well,” said Williams.

Now he leads a team that boasts three returners from last year’s Central California Conference championship roster and the expectations are just as high.

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Turlock High’s Jada Washington (red) is expected to be one of the key returners for the Bulldogs (EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal).

“I expect a good year and have high expectations and we should compete with who we play,” said Williams. “We’ve been really competitive the last few years.”

Over last two years Turlock accumulated an overall record of 41-14, including 21-3 in league play.

They won the Central California Conference the last two season, including going 11-1 last year while winning 21 games in 27 contests.

Now they plan to bring that same success into the Central California Athletic League and perhaps make it three straight league titles.

“Competing in the CCAL, they have some big teams and it will be different in every sense,” said Williams. “Mainly because we never played those teams. When we played the CCC it was a physical league, but I don’t know what to expect from the Modesto schools.”

Those Modesto schools include Enochs, Modesto, Downey and Gregori along with the Bulldogs’ crosstown rivals Pitman.

Standout player Jaydon Williams is expected to return after tearing her ACL a year ago, but her minutes may be limited at the start.

Joining Williams as a returner is also Jada Washington, who is a double-double threat day in and day out.

Sofia Andres is also back for Turlock and is expected to continue to be one of the better defenders in league. Joana Cardoso Azevedo is another of five total returners for Turlock.

“Sofia is returning and is a great defender, we also have Jada Washington, who can rebound, score and play defense and then we have Joana, a good shooter one of our better shooters,” said Williams. “She should get a lot of playing time because of the system.”

The big play makers should be Washington, Andres and Williams, but look for all the newcomers to contribute early on.

“Big difference from last year is a little bit younger of a team — three starting returners, and a lot of younger ones — but who have been in the system for a while,” said Williams. “We should be able to compete with all teams in our league.”

Turlock will take on Manteca on the road at 7 p.m. Nov. 28.