The Turlock High boys basketball team’s season came to an end Monday night when they faced number one seed Inderkum High School in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I quarterfinals of the playoffs. This season was highlighted by a league championship and a first-round road playoff win.
The Tigers were a number one seed for a reason, and the Bulldogs had a difficult time adjusting to their press defense and couldn’t overcome turnovers.
“To win we would have had to play a near perfect game,” said head coach Nick Nathanson. “We were expecting the press, but it’s really difficult to adjust to it when you’re going up against a really athletic team. Frankly, they were faster than us. I thought we were more skilled and if we did a better job limiting the turnovers, I think the margin wouldn’t have been so big.”
The Bulldogs ended up losing to the Tigers 101-58, with Inderkum controlling the game from the get go. Senior Kyle Ericksen led the team with 20 points, fellow senior Daniel Malagon had 15 and junior Gavin Cox finished with 12 points.
“I thought this season was one of my best seasons I’ve had, especially with the group of guys we had,” said Malagon who set the school record for most three pointers in a game and in a season this year. “Those are my brothers; I’ve played with them since middle school and we’ve all grown up together and it was just a blessing to be able to share the court with them and be as good as we were.”
The Bulldogs had nine seniors on the team and while this loss stings, their coach said they accomplished a lot this season.
“The seniors bought into me from day one,” said Nathanson. “We didn’t get the end result we wanted, but these guys should be so proud of what they accomplished. Not a lot of people were expecting us to compete, let alone win a league title, and I think the athletic director told me when we beat Capital Christian, it was the first road playoff win for Turlock in about 20 years. They worked really hard, put in a lot of hours and I’m glad I had an opportunity to coach them.”
This was Nathanson’s first year as the coach for Turlock and one thing he credited with the success the Bulldogs had this season was the support he received form the school.
“The administration at Turlock High is one of the best I’ve ever been around,” he said. “I have to thank people like Gabe Ontiveros, Aaron Mello and Colin Wenstrand for their support and commitment to the team.”
The Bulldogs finished the season with an overall record of 20-8 and going 8-2 in league competition.