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Turlock boys basketball falls to Central Catholic in last non-conference game
THS Bulldogs mascot

Turlock High’s boys basketball team wrapped up non-conference play Saturday with a 65-59 loss to Central Catholic at the Mark Gallo Health and Fitness Center and will start league play tonight when it travels back up Highway 99 to take on Modesto High.

Gavin Cox, the Bulldogs’ 6-foot-7 senior center, totaled 19 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and two blocks in the loss against the Raiders, a team that has reached the Sac-Joaquin Section final in eight of the last 10 seasons — winning blue banners in 2016-18.

“All in all, I thought it was a really good effort,” said head coach Nick Nathanson, whose team was without the services of starting point guard Jed Ladine, a senior who was serving a one-game suspension for committing two technical fouls in the previous game. “We were composed, we battled, and we definitely went hard. Having Jed, maybe the result would’ve been a little bit different, but we just have to put it behind us and forward to league.”

In Ladine’s absence, senior guard Jordan Williams and sophomore guard Dutch Lawrence stepped up and delivered strong performances. 

Lawrence contributed 14 points for the Bulldogs — with nine of those coming in the first half — and Williams scored all 11 of his points in the first half — eight in the second stanza — as the Bulldogs whittled a 10-point first-quarter deficit to just two points at halftime.

In the second half, the Raiders again pulled ahead by double digits, but the Bulldogs charged back once more, cutting the margin to three points before CC pulled away with key buckets in the final minutes.

The Raiders made Cox work hard for his 19 points, using 6-5 T.P. Wentworth and 6-5 Wesley Payne to continually muscle Cox off the block and forcing him to set up farther from the rim.

“We just wanted to put an early forearm on him every time down the floor,” said CC head coach Mike Wilson, whose team improved to 9-6 and will open Valley Oak League play against East Union (12-6) on Wednesday at the Gallo. “It was just a matter of making contact and keeping contact.”

After traveling to take on Modesto, the Bulldogs (10-8) will face Enochs and Gregori before hosting city rival Pitman on Jan. 20.

“I didn’t anticipate being 10-8 heading into league,” said Nathanson. “I thought we might be 14-4, but you look at our games and we’ve had about five losses where the game was within two or three possessions at the end. It’s those little details that are the difference between 10-8 and 14-4.”