After defeating Stagg High in the Division I Sac-Joaquin Section out-bracket game last week, Turlock High’s boys’ basketball team knew it would have to play perfectly if they were upset number one seed Jesuit High in Tuesday’s first-round playoff game—and for one half of play they did just that.
The Bulldogs (6-4 CCC, 19-10 Overall) traveled north nearly 100 miles to the Marauders’ (8-2 DRL, 25-3 Overall) home court where they battled with the Delta River League squad for two quarters in a competitive matchup that saw Jesuit enter halftime with a slight two-point lead. Turlock’s run at perfection ended in the third quarter, however, as its players were outscored 25-7 which led to Turlock’s early exit from the post-season tournament via a 71-48 final.
“I think we came in and played with confidence. You can win a game like that with nothing to lose, they’re expected to beat you,” Turlock head coach Doug Cornfoot said. “We knew we could play with the good teams for at least a half. Our goal was to play a full game without having a letdown, and unfortunately, we only made it through two and a half quarters before we ran into problems.”
Turlock’s first half strength came in the form of senior Kenny Fraser whose scoring was already in the double digits by the half. In the same vein, however, Fraser would also aid in his team’s third quarter slump, albeit indirectly.
“What hurt us in the third quarter is Kenny picked up two quick fouls, he picked up his third and fourth. We took him out for as long as we could, but when you take him out of the game, they start pulling away,” Cornfoot said. “When he picked up that fourth foul we didn’t have anybody we could put in to pick up the scoring for us.”
With Fraser on the bench, teammates Demsen McFaddin and Devan Bains attempted to pick up the slack but to no avail. By the beginning of the fourth Jesuit has a 20 point lead, 53-33.
“It’s just hard to get caught back up,” Cornfoot said.
Fraser finished the game with 24 points and six rebounds. McFaddin and Bains walked away with 11 points and 7 points, respectively, and Travis Cook tallied six rebounds.
With the season now over, Turlock will be looking to rebuild as it braces for the departure of Fraser. But with seven juniors returning—including McFaddin, Bains, and Cook—Cornfoot believes he has a solid foundation to build upon.
We’re going to have to find somebody to come in and pick up the scoring slack with Kenny gone. We’ll have Devan and Demsen back in their third year of varsity, so I’m sure their scoring will pick up,” Cornfoot said. “We’re going to be pretty solid in terms of numbers. But the big search this summer will be who is going to step up and do some scoring for us.”