It has been a successful — and interesting — year for the Turlock High Bulldogs. After clinching a playoff spot in their final regular season game, the Bulldogs took full advantage of the opportunity earning a Round 1 victory over Stagg High at home on Friday.
With only seven points scored after the first quarter, it didn’t seem that the ‘Dogs would stand a chance, but the next three quarters became theirs as they began to drain the shots and ultimately led to the 43-33 win in the first round of the Division-I Sac Joaquin Section playoffs.
“The first half, there is nothing to get on the kids about, we just missed lay-ups,” Turlock head coach Doug Cornfoot said. “We didn’t focus too much on finishing strong at the basket, but we knew if we kept working at it we would be in it.”
The Bulldogs were able to overcome a 10-point deficit early on in the second quarter as the score read 17-7 in favor of Stagg. It looked like Kenneth Wooten was going to dominate the paint over Turlock’s Kenny Fraser, but the Bulldog soon rallied. Fraser missed back-to-back open hook shots but after a timeout from Turlock, he returned to lead his team to a 10-1 run to end the first half down by one at 17-18.
“Kenny [Fraser] played well and helped spread them out a little bit and that opened up a lot of opportunities to finish up inside and Kenny was able to find those creases and made it easier to score inside,” Cornfoot said. “It was a good win.”
At the start of the third quarter Fraser drained an uncontested lay-up to take a one-point lead, 19-18, and that would be as close as Stagg would come to ever leading again.
A 26-15 run by the ‘Dogs in the second half was enough to secure the win as the defense put pressure on and the offense did not commit turnovers as they managed to securely move the ball around and kept the Delta Kings on their toes.
“You play games to play and you don’t worry about the team or score you just go out and play at the end of the day the winner goes on and loser goes home,” Cornfoot said.
Fraser topped out as the leader of the day in rebounds and points that added to his stellar double-double, finishing with 25 points and 11 rebounds.
The leading scorer for Stagg was Jonathan Sreiy who finished with eight points for the night.
The Bulldogs of Turlock will travel to Carmichael to face off against the number one seed in the D-I bracket, Jesuit High, on Wednesday with the game set to begin at 7 p.m.
“We’re going with the mindset that we are going to win the game. You can’t worry about the reputation and rankings you just go with the mindset that we're going to get after it and whatever happens will happen, that’s our approach,” Cornfoot said when asked about his approach against the 30th ranked team in state, Jesuit.