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Turlock boys win first league championship in six years
Turlock boys bball
The Turlock High varsity boys basketball team celebrates their CCAL champions title after defeating Downey High on Friday (Photo contributed).

The Turlock High boys basketball team avenged their loss to Downey on Friday, earning their first league title in six years. First year head coach Nick Nathanson was able to get the team to make the right adjustment, and the Bulldogs can call themselves the Central California Athletic League champions for the first time since the 2015-2016 season.

“This is just a culmination of everyone’s hard work,” said Nathanson. “We had the mindset of us versus the world. We knew outside of our locker room we weren’t necessarily the favorite early on or we would have this much success this early. We were motivated to prove people wrong and I’m glad we had an opportunity to do that.”

Being able to win the title against the Knights made it even sweeter, as the Bulldogs hadn’t forgotten the tough one-point loss against Downey earlier in the season. The team was able to adjust to the full court press they had difficulty with last time and cut down on the mistakes, resulting in an 80-56 win.

“I love that the first game happened, because it gave me insight on my team,” said Nathanson. “When I went into the locker room, every single one of my players took accountability and that was probably my proudest moment as a coach. That highlighted the character of this team, they’re willingness not to point the finger but point the thumb.”

According to the coach, that has been the biggest evolution of the team the entire season. Early on in the season “if things weren’t going our way, we would put our head down” but as the season went on the team was able to improve their mentality and got better at responding to adversity.

The team wants to enjoy this moment and celebrate their accomplishments, but they know there’s more work to be done with the playoffs starting this weekend.

“From here on out we’re going to be playing a really good team,” said Nathanson. “Since this is a very senior heavy team, I think they know that any game could be the last one. We have nine seniors and I think that provides extra motivation. I tell them ‘fellas let’s keep this ball bouncing as long as we can.’

Turlock’s first round matchup will be against Capital Christian in Sacramento at 7 p.m. Friday.