Turlock High’s boys basketball team entered the first round of the Frank Godinez tournament on Thursday facing a Beyer High team that had only won two games in the past two seasons. Most expected the Bulldogs to pull off an easy victory and cruise into the second round.
Although Turlock defeated the Patriots by a score of 55-43, the win was anything but easy.
“They gave Pitman fits so I knew they were not going to give up and were going to fight hard,” head coach Doug Cornfoot said. “Fortunately for us they didn’t make the shots they were making in the first three quarters in the fourth.”
Turlock opened up the game with 11 unanswered points but began to stall offensively towards the end of the first quarter. Sloppy passing and inconsistent shooting allowed the Patriots to gain momentum and temporarily take the lead in the final minutes of the first half. With 20 seconds left in the half Turlock was able to erase Beyer’s lead when Deshawn Holcombe beat Beyer’s defenders for a layup, tying the game 26-26.
Beyer came out of the half determined to show that they were not the Patriots of old, taking and maintaining a lead over Turlock for much of the third quarter.
“We really have to start getting methodical in the things we do,” Cornfoot said. “We want to push the break, but if the break’s not there we need to learn to pull it out, get set and run a half court set.”
A Holcombe three pointer gave the Bulldogs the lead once again and sparked a fourth quarter surge that won them the game. Holcombe finished the first game as Turlock’s top scorer with 19 points; Alek Carlson wasn’t far behind him with 14.
The win setup a second round matchup with Valley High School on Friday, a team the Cornfoot described as very athletic and “relentless to the boards.”
Cornfoot’s description was accurate. The Vikings pressed the Bulldogs, forcing them to play catch-up the entire first half. The Bulldogs were unable to find their rhythm against Valley’s tenacious defense and entered the locker room at the half visibly frustrated with the 38-24 score.
The rest of the game followed the first half’s script. Valley maintained a healthy double digit lead until the fourth quarter when a determined Carlson and Holcombe brought the Bulldogs within five points of the Vikings with 1:19 left in the game. The Turlock comeback never happened though as Valley defeated the Bulldogs 62-52 and advanced to the championship game against Davis High today.
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