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Turlocks historic season ends in a blaze of athleticism
Turlock pic 1
Turlock High's Anthony Hubbard tries to drive past a Castlemont High defender in the Bulldogs' 77-53 loss in the NorCal Championships opener at Oakland Technical High on Tuesday night. - photo by CHHUN SUN / The Journal
OAKLAND — There were dunks almost on command. There was a 3-point showcase by various shooters. And there was athleticism the Turlock High boys basketball players rarely, if ever, witnessed and competed against back home.
Welcome to the state tournament.
And then it was over.
Turlock’s first trip to the CIF State Championships ended in the first round of the Northern California Tournament with a 77-53 loss to a very athletic and sharp-shooting Castlemont High team at Oakland Technical High on Tuesday night, ending the Bulldogs’ otherwise triumphant season.
“This is just icing on the cake,” Turlock coach Doug Cornfoot said after the game. “It’s not a very good-tasting cake.”
The Knights displayed a collection of incredible talent in 6-foot-4 senior John Green (26 points), 6-2 junior guard Devareaux Manley (17 points) and 6-2 sophomore guard Deshawn Washington (13 points). And it didn’t hurt that they also had junior power forward Gary Williams, a late-season transfer that helped Castlemont to the Oakland Section Division I title last week.
“These guys were bigger and quicker,” Cornfoot said. “That frustrated us.”
The Bulldogs expected the Knights to pound it inside all night because of Green’s presence, but they seemed a little surprised by the Castlemont shooters, who contributed to 10 3-pointers on the night. That kind of display hurt the Bulldogs after a 17-15 first quarter.
The Knights then went on a 15-2 run, thanks to Manley’s trio of 3-pointers during that stretch. They kept building the lead with dunks, more treys and an dominant inside game. By the fourth quarter, the Knights were up 67-43 after another rally that pretty much gave them their 16th win of the season.
Yes, Castlemont (16-13 overall) struggled throughout the regular season before having a Cinderella-like run in the postseason, helping them earn a No. 6 seed in NorCals. The Knights will continue on with the state tournament Thursday, when they face No. 3 Newark Memorial High.
The loss marked the final game for four seniors, including Travis Souza (20 points) and Eric Wetzel (13 points). Anthony Hubbard, who will probably be the team’s leader next season, finished with 16 points. The Bulldogs, however, didn’t have starter Ashton Richardson available, as the junior forward had been sick since last week.
The ending wasn’t ideal, but the Bulldogs (24-7) achieved the goal of reaching Arco Arena in Sacramento for the first time in 17 years and were only a few points away from advancing to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship game.
“You gotta lose sometimes,” Souza said. “We came to NorCals, that’s the first time Turlock has ever done that. They played well and they shot the lights out.”
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail at or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.