Since dropping their first Central California Conference matchup last week to Golden Valley in devastating fashion, the Turlock High Bulldogs have quickly responded by winning two straight.
After topping Atwater, 60-43 at home on Wednesday night the Bulldogs (5-1) have now won back-to-back games to take sole possession of first place in the CCC before Friday's contest.
“Took us an entire half to get going,” said Turlock head coach Doug Cornfoot. “By the second we got going a little bit and that’s been the way we are this year, slow first half or we’ve been down like GV. For some reason we are not coming and playing well in the first half.”
Turlock junior Habib Velasquez had a career night after finishing with a double-double, tacking on 11 points and 13 rebounds.
“He kind of took over the boards in the second half and six points in the third, which was nice because there was another threat for us offensively,” Cornfoot said of Velasquez.
Velasquez played a pivotal role in the Bulldogs third quarter surge, which led to a 43-29 lead by the end of the third, after leading by only two points at the end of the first half.
“We started turning things around in the second half,” Cornfoot said. “We didn't play bad, we just had a few turnovers and they [Atwater] hit some threes and we had some open looks that were not falling.
Turlock made a lone three-point shot in the entire first half and drained only three for the entire game.
All but two players scored for the Bulldogs who shared the ball extremely well in the second half.
Demsen McFaddin scored 11 points, Devan Bains had six, and Travis Cook had five for the Bulldogs, who have now won six of their last seven games.
“We kept our turnovers down and played good team basketball,” Cornfoot said. “When you have 11 of your 13 guys scoring, that shows they all came out and did what needed to be done and that’s what I liked the most. Guys who don’t play much came in and took advantage of it.”
Despite only leading by two before the start of the third quarter the 'Dogs were not content with their performance as they kept control of the second half and played their game to force Atwater to lose their fourth CCC game of the season.
Turlock's defense held Atwater to only six points for the entire third quarter after outscoring them 19-6 and by the start of the fourth the momentum had transferred over to the home team who had built a 20-point lead in the fourth before winning by 17.
“We controlled the tempo of the game,” Cornfoot added. “We stopped them from getting many runs, they got some runs and came back in the first half and in the third we kept them from getting that push. It’s hard to comeback after a score like that and controlling the tempo really helped us.”
Turlock will travel to Merced High to take on the Bears at 7:15 p.m. Friday.