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Turlock, Hilmar face tough competition in holiday tourneys
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A slam dunk for Turlock senior Gavin Cox during the Bulldogs' 85-41 victory over Gregori on the last day of the Holiday Hoop Classic (SAMANTHA SCHMIDT/The Journal).

Turlock High defeated Central California Athletic League rival Gregori 85-41 on Friday to complete a four-day run in the prestigious Modesto Christian Holiday Hoop Classic.

The Bulldogs (9-7) lost their first three games in the tournament, falling to Campolindo (66-55) on Tuesday, Clovis East (79-53) on Wednesday and to CCAL foe Downey (61-55) on Thursday.

“We learned a lot about ourselves during the tournament,” said Bulldogs coach Nick Nathanson, who missed the first game with the flu. “It was good to experience some tougher opponents.”

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Turlock's Jed Ladine drives past Gregori defender Colton Chapman on the last day of Modesto Christian's Holiday Hoop Classic (SAMANTHA SCHMIDT/The Journal).

Campolindo won the Division I North Coast Division Section championship last season, while Clovis East reached the Central Section D-I semifinals. The games against Downey and Gregori shows Nathanson how his team might fare in league play.

“I learned that we’re fighters,” said Nathanson. “Against Campolindo and Clovis East, we were down by double digits with two minutes left and we just kept fighting. And I was pleased how we came into this game. It was super early, 9 a.m., against a team we blew out in fall league. But there was good energy and you could tell they wanted to take it to Gregori. It was good to end 2022 on a high note.”

The Bulldogs got off to a quick start against the Jaguars, racing to a 46-22 lead in the first half, when Jed Ladine had 19 points and Gavin Cox 18. Cox would finish with a game-high 31 points — he also had 31 against Clovis East — and Ladine finished with 29. 

Cox averaged 23.4 points over the course of the tournament, while Ladine averaged 17.8 — on par with their season averages. 

The Bulldogs will see action again on Tuesday when they host Ripon, then again on Jan. 8 when they travel to Modesto to take on Central Catholic, the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III runner-up last season.

Turlock will open CCAL play on Jan. 11 at Modesto High.


Hilmar ends Livingston Classic with win against Le Grand

Hilmar High’s boys basketball team closed out the Livingston Holiday Classic, and 2022, with a victory, defeating Le Grand 52-42.

The Yellowjackets opened the tournament on Wednesday with a 51-41 loss to Modesto, then followed up with a 48-37 setback to Ceres.

Hilmar (7-10) utilized a platoon rotation against the Bulldogs, utilizing all 13 players on the roster.

“We were on a bit of a losing streak,” said head coach Austin Keaton, in his first season coaching the ’Jackets. “We tried something different with a platoon-type lineup, rotating guys in and out.”

Hilmar was not only aided by the platoon system, but also by the return of 6-5 forward Derek Taylor, who had been away from the team for several weeks. 

“He definitely helps us,” said Keaton. “He opens up other things for us on the floor.”

Hudson Azevedo led the Yellowjackets’ offense with 12 points, while Taylor also finished in double digits, totaling 10.

“It was definitely a total team effort, one though 13,” said Keaton. “Everybody contributed. Guys were out there playing with energy, and for one another.”

Hilmar will open Trans-Valley League play on Wednesday at Ripon, then will host Hughson on Friday.