It was a frustrating sight for fans of Turlock High girls basketball to watch their team fail to capitalize on wide-open layups and other easy opportunities. They groaned and tried their best to spread words of encouragement from the stands of Bulldog Arena.
“Tonight just wasn’t our night,” coach Salinda Mabie said.
After a missed shot, the players would slap their own hands in frustration as they gradually marched back down the court.
“We couldn’t keep our heads up,” senior guard Camille Roberts said.
On Thursday night, the No. 4 Bulldogs’ season ended after falling 67-43 to a quicker, more athletic Armijo High team — also the fifth seed — in the quarterfinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Tournament in front of hundreds of fans. The loss marked the end of an era, as Mabie and her underclassmen officially said goodbye to seven seniors, five of them starters.
Turlock (22-6 overall) had another standout season, but this one was special. Not only did they win their fourth consecutive Central California Conference title but the Bulldogs also were able to get past the first round of the playoffs for the first time in four tries, thanks to Tuesday night’s 54-40 win over Franklin High of Elk Grove.
“I mean, when was the last time a Turlock girls team gone this far?” Roberts said, asking a question no one within the current program truly knows. “It feels not that great, but I’m still proud of every single one of these girls. They took it as far as they possibly could.”
It all ended Thursday night.
Turlock was behind by at least 10 points during much of the second half and didn’t get much production from their go-to players. Roberts had an off-night with five points (with five assists) and senior Kayla Schumann managed to have just three of her 13 points in the first half, while the only other double-digit scorer was senior Sarah McMullen, who had 10.
Nicole Serpa had a solid night for the Bulldogs, as she finished with seven points and 11 rebounds.
That’s not to discredit the Indians (24-5), who were loaded with athleticism and quickness and used those strengths to finish the game with a 13-2 run — with Turlock’s only bucket during that stretch coming with just seconds left in the game.
Those strengths also helped build a 10-point lead at the end of the first quarter. When the Bulldogs rallied and cut the disadvantage to 28-22, Armijo’s Erica Bossett responded with a 3-pointer and a layup on consecutive possessions to keep the advantage at double digits. In all, four Indians had at least 10 points, with Chloe Dawkins and Marshanique Hall leading with 13 apiece.
Armijo will now get ready for Wednesday’s upcoming semifinals game at the University of Pacific in Stockton.
For the Bulldogs, they have no regrets.
“We didn’t play our best tonight,” Mabie said. “No regrets. Not even disappointed. The girls gave it all they could, and that’s all we could ask from them.”
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