The Central California Conference has been the epitome of a rollercoaster this season in boys basketball. Every team has beaten each other up and every game seems to be a nail biter until the end. Things continued to go the same route on Friday night when Turlock High visited CCC foe Golden Valley in a game for first place in league.
By the first quarter the Bulldogs and Cougars were dead on, getting a feel for each other's game, but what came to be was a third quarter emergence by Golden Valley along with critical free throws down the stretch that led to a 65-54 loss for the ‘Dogs.
“It started out with two first place teams battling, we were up after the first but not sure bout the third cause they hurt us. They got on a run and it looked like they were pulling away,” Turlock head coach Doug Cornfoot said. “It was a physical game, not like the first one, it was more of a game that refs let us play.”
Down by four to start the third quarter, the outcome was in the air, but the Cougars were able to pull away and go up by 14 by the end of the quarter while the ‘Dogs missed a hefty load of three pointers shooting only 3-for-16 for the game.
Along with missing critical shots in the second half, the Cougars aggressive defense was able to take away the easy passing lanes for Turlock, which made it easy for them to capitalize.
“We were not able to move without the ball, they pressured well and took open passes away,” Cornfoot said. “It was more physical than before and we shied away from contact and waited for whistles and I told the guys not to worry and just be physical.”
In a critical fourth quarter, the ‘Dogs cut the lead to just four points with just over three minutes left in the game, but late fouls proved costly as the Cougars drained 14-of-18 free throws.
With the loss, the ‘Dogs fall to second place (4-2, CCC) and just one game ahead of third place Merced (3-2).
Kenny Fraser finished the game with another double-double to add to his collection dropping 17 points while grabbing 13 rebounds. Demsen McFaddin finished with 16 points and 3 steals.