Turlock and Pitman High had two goals coming into this season; win the Central California Conference championship and make playoffs.
Although neither team achieved their first goal, both have made it to the postseason where they hope to redeem themselves and earn the chance to play in the Sac-Joaquin Section Championship game at the Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento March 3.
The Bulldogs, who were a game away from the CCC title, face the Delta Valley League Champions Franklin High of Elk Grove on Wednesday. The Wildcats (21-5 overall) are a familiar foe for Turlock. Two years ago the two met in the championship game where Turlock lost by four and last year they met in the second round of playoffs where Turlock lost once again.
"Hopefully the third time is the charm," Turlock's head coach Doug Cornfoot said. "We're going to have to play at our highest level."
The Bulldogs (15-12 overall) must defend and rebound well against the highly athletic Wildcats who have a good transition game and boast two accurate shooters. Turlock is encouraged by its recent performances and practices as well as Franklin's lack of depth on its roster.
"The kids know we're comparable to what they have to offer," Cornfoot said.
The Pride (16-11 overall) will travel to Sacramento to face the champions of the Delta River League, Sheldon High. Tonight will be the first meeting between Pitman and the Huskies (22-5 overall), one of the top 10 teams in California.
After a tough end to its regular season Pitman is excited to be back in the postseason hunt and eager to cap off a season of highs and lows with a successful playoff run. In order to do that the Pride will have to overcome a tall and highly athletic Huskie team that is known to play above the rim. Pitman plans on maximizing its opportunities by taking care of the basketball and executing its offensive and defensive game plans to a T. The Pride's biggest challenge will likely come under the boards where rebounds will be essential in the matchup.
"We look forward to an exciting game and to competing," Pitman's assistant coach Undrea Walker said. "We feel like we have a shot but we need to play near perfect basketball. We need to play Pitman High basketball."