The Turlock High Bulldogs ended their year at the 15th Annual Modesto Christian Holiday Hoop Classic on Tuesday, but not with confetti and cheers. The Bulldogs lost to Salesian, 55-58.
After a near comeback that Turlock assembled in the second half, the 'Dogs were tied with under 40 seconds left in the contest only to lose to Salesian's Brandon McGhee's buzzer-beater shot.
“There are not too many times in games where you have that last second shot and know what you need to do,” said Turlock head coach Doug Cornfoot. “And really it is my fault because we have not really worked on what we want to do when the last 10 seconds of a half or quarter happens with no timeouts.”
“They are a good athletic team, teams we probably won't see in league, faster, stronger and it's good competition to get used to,” Turlock senior Devan Bains said. “We played well, just a bad shot in our part and they hit a good shot to win and there's not much we can do about that.”
Bains finished the contest with a team-high 20 points, followed by Demsen McFaddin with 14.
The game was made up of lengthy and consistent scoring runs made from both teams and by the end of the opening quarter, the Bulldogs were down by six points only to pull within two by the end of the first half.
“To play like we did today against a really good team like Salesian, I am just very happy with the overall way we played. We will learn from it and move on,” Cornfoot said.
Every time the Bulldogs pulled within two or fewer points, the Salesian Pride called a timeout and then went on a scoring surge.
By the end of the third quarter, Turlock was only down by one point at 46-47, but again the time out helped the Pride.
“I thought we played a lot better today than we did when we lost our first two games,” Bains said. “We can hang with them, we just need to play good for all four quarters.”
In the fourth, the Pride started with a 6-0 run before Turlock called a timeout and went on a 7-2 run before the final shot was made as time expired.
“We look at it this way: We wanted to come here and play teams who are quicker, faster, stronger and hopefully when we get to league it slows the game down for us,” Cornfoot said. “We now have seen the quick and tall and so when we get to league nobody is as quick or athletic and tall so it won't be new.”
Turlock finishes the tournament with a 1-3 posting.
“We are starting to come together as a team and playing well,” Bains said. “We are all excited and happy for each other and are coming together and it helps when we play well, no bickering and we play good together but when things go south is when we need to learn to stay calm and hit our shots.”
Turlock's next game will be at Atwater against the Falcons at 7:15 p.m. on Jan. 9.