Turlock High had the CCC title within its grasp when they hosted Golden Valley High on Wednesday in the final league game of the season. After five emotionally driven victories the Bulldogs (10-5 CCC) were unable to match Golden Valley's intensity, falling to the Cougars (11-3 CCC) for the third time this year, 61-37.
"The energy I was hoping for, I didn't see it," Turlock's head coach Doug Cornfoot said. "Our last five games have been an emotional rollercoaster. I think we came out flat maybe because of what we've been through the last two weeks."
Whatever the reason Turlock looked lethargic from the onset. Bulldog passes were routinely intercepted by Golden Valley defenders and Bulldog players seemed to have trouble communicating with each other. The Cougars took advantage of Turlock's turnovers, scoring ten unanswered points early in the game and holding the Bulldogs to six first quarter points.
Turlock's offense picked up in the second quarter but Golden Valley's aggressive defense continued to put pressure on the Bulldogs, forcing mistakes and converting them into points. Spurred by a few Tyler Murphy layups and a Brandon Esquivel three-pointer, the Bulldogs were able to momentarily pull within four points of Golden Valley late in the second quarter. By halftime the Cougars led 27-21
"Those guys are very good and they're very well coached," Cornfoot said. "They've got shooters and their quick inside."
The second half marked the end of Turlock's title dreams. Golden Valley, led by Adam Durbin, scored 17 third quarter points while Turlock only managed to score two. To make matters worse, Turlock's Dashawn Holcombe received a technical foul midway through the third quarter, his fifth personal foul of the game, and was forced to watch the rest of the game from the sidelines. The absence of Holcombe compounded the Bulldogs' shooting woes, resulting in their worst scoring performance in conference play.
"We were just a step too slow," Cornfoot said.
With the loss Turlock finishes second in the CCC and must now wait until Sunday to see if it has a spot in playoffs.