Turlock High’s girls varsity basketball team’s youth and inexperience was on full display during Friday’s preseason matchup on the road against Manteca High at Winter Gym.
With head coach Mark Musselman starting two freshmen and in the lineup, Turlock committed seven first-quarter turnovers which led to an early eight-point deficit and a 44-30 loss.
“We struggled shooting, and you know, we’re really young,” Musselman said. “We start two freshmen and have three freshmen up. We’re learning, but the girls played hard…they always play hard. We just have to learn how to win.
“I thought we did a decent defensive job. (Manteca) zoned us with a 2-3 and we couldn’t hit outside shots. We had multiple chances in the fourth quarter to put the ball in.”
Turlock’s freshman guard Audrey Belew made up the final score by tallying the game’s final bucket.
The Bulldogs were led by senior guard Karly Schuman’s team-high 11 points.
Sianna Cruz recorded seven points and freshmen Shea Glasgow Williams and Mary Oliveira each chipped in four.
With the absence of senior guard Jessica Hasal for Manteca, the Buffaloes’ junior tandem of Chelsea Gomez and Fechi Nkwocha stepped up significantly.
Gomez and Nkwocha combined for 22 points and sophomore point guard Elizabeth Tolbert played well as the Buffaloes’ floor general.
Manteca (2-5) jumped out to a 15-7 advantage after the first eight minutes, and after an even second quarter, the Buffaloes took a 24-16 cushion into the locker room.
“We were just going with what we do best, and that was our full-court pressure back to being a little bit smarter with our zone than we are with our man-to-man (defense),” Manteca head coach Chad Norman said. “Another reason was to pick up the aggressiveness and intensity, and our two girls up top -- Fechi and Chelsea – they really bring it. So that really let’s them do what they do best in that kind of defensive set. (Nkwocha) really made a difference defensively for us with a lot of steals.”
Nkwocha finished with eight points but went 2 of 8 from the free-throw line. The Buffaloes went 8 of 16 from the charity stripe as a team.
In the third quarter, Manteca outscored Turlock (2-8) 12 -9 and led by 11 going into the fourth frame.
The Buffaloes’ defense only allowed the Bulldogs five fourth-quarter points despite only scoring seven of their own in the final eight minutes.
Manteca stretched its lead to 16 late in the fourth quarter after Tolbert registered an impressive assist from near-mid court. Tolbert found junior guard Allison Rachels on the right block for the field goal.
Turlock, which will host Kimball of Tracy on Monday, shot 2 of 6 from the free-throw line.