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Turlock girls take down rival, now a win from perfect season
girls bball
Turlock High guard Kayla Schumann led the Bulldogs to a 56-31 win over Pitman High, one that gave them an outright league title. - photo by CHHUN SUN / The Journal
For a team that is known to keep quiet even after a big win, the noise that the Turlock High girls basketball players made after demolishing crosstown rival Pitman High 56-31 on Thursday seemed uncharacteristic. They hollered and clapped inside their opponent’s gym.
Little had to do with the fact that it was over Pitman. A lot had to do with the meaning of the win, as the Bulldogs proved once again that life without Rachel Finnegan, now playing for San Jose State, also has winning moments.
Turlock (22-4, 11-0 Central California Conference) secured the school’s third consecutive league title. Only Los Banos High stands in the way of back-to-back undefeated seasons, something that didn’t seem possible with a busload of underclassmen. But think again.
“We were just ready and we were fired up for this game and we wanted it more,” junior Nicole Serpa said.
Well, not at first. The Bulldogs had a back-and-forth first quarter, exchanging leads five times and allowing the Pride (14-11, 6-4 CCC) to tie it up on three occasions. Then Pitman’s pregame circumstances became too unavoidable.
With starting forward Amanda Jankowski out with an injury, Pride guard Jasmine Washington — who had just three points, well below her 19.6 season average — had a lot of pain throughout the game, as doctors cleared her sprained ankle a couple hours before tipoff.
But the Bulldogs kept with their game plan. And that was to slow down the game, compared to a faster pace the last time the rivals met and Turlock escaped with a 10-point win. The Bulldogs also started running their offense and players like Kayla Schumann (15 points), Candace Sakuda (12 points) and Serpa (10 points) capitalized, all before they went on a 12-2 run in the second quarter to jump ahead 26-14 at halftime.
It was 44-23 to start the fourth, and both coaches let their reserves loose.
The win was “big because all year, it was, ‘What are you going to do now with Finnegan gone?’” coach Salinda Mabie said. “We never looked at it like that. We looked at it like, ‘New team, new season.’”
And this group didn’t hide the excitement afterward.
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.