There is no reward for consistency. No gimmies for always showing up.
The Turlock High boys basketball team has made the third-most appearances in Holiday Hoop Classic history, accepting the challenge 11 times in 18 years. Only tournament host Modesto Christian (18) and Ripon (14) have more appearances.
“In order to prepare ourselves for league, which in my opinion is the most important thing, we have to play teams that are faster, quicker and trap,” Turlock coach Doug Cornfoot said. “Once we’re into league, it should slow things down. The press and trapping, the size and quickness, we won’t see this in our league.”
The draws have never been easy, a trend that continued with Wednesday’s opener against Clovis West, a team coached by former NBA assistant Vance Walberg and ranked No. 8 in the state by MaxPreps.com.
With a fleet of guards and a relentless press, the Golden Eagles hit top speed in the first quarter and never relented in an 83-66 victory.
Clovis West (12-1) has won six straight games, a stretch that includes a championship run at the Clovis West Nike Invitational.
Cole Anderson connected on four 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 20 points. The 6-foot-2 freshman is a Chuck Hayes Basketball player with offers from San Diego State, Fresno State and San Francisco.
Josiah DeLaCerda had 12 points and Brandon Recek netted 10 for Clovis West, which rattled home nine 3-pointers and pulled its starters in the fourth quarter.
Turlock (4-6) showed flashes in the second quarter, whittling the deficit to 10 behind the play of Arik Bains, Everett Johnson and Cameran Sherwood.
Bains knocked down a 3-pointer with 4:04 left in the half to make it 31-20, and then set up Sherwood with a backdoor layup after breaking the Golden Eagles’ press with a bounce pass. Sherwood also had a floater in the lane and a 3-pointer. He finished with 10 points and four assists.
Bains led the Bulldogs with 18 points and two steals, while Johnson, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, had 12 points and five rebounds.
Turlock has lost five straight since starting the season 4-1. With a freshman guard (Cameron Walker), a sophomore post (Johnson) and six juniors, Cornfoot said his team isn’t concerned about results in December.
It’s a process, he says, and the games that count begin in January. The Bulldogs open Central California Conference play against El Capitan in Merced on Jan. 3. Like Clovis West, the Gauchos like to press and play with tempo.
“We’re still considered a young team, so it’s a long process,” Cornfoot said. “They look at the big picture. We just played one of the top teams in the state. If we play as hard as we did today, when we play against a common opponent hopefully it works in our favor.”
Turlock plays the loser of Lincoln (Stockton)-Weston Ranch on Thursday in the consolation bracket at 10:30 a.m.
Campolindo 63, Manteca 52
Football stars Gino Campiotti and Jorge Cedano scored in double figures, but the Buffaloes’ late-game struggles continued with a loss to Campolindo, a regional heavyweight.
Campiotti scored a team-high 13 points and Cedano poured in 11 for Manteca, which has lost seven of its first 10 games despite returning three starters from last year’s team.
Head coach Brett Lewis said the team has yet to find a rhythm since the return of its football players. The Manteca football team won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III title and hosted a CIF State regional bowl, forcing Lewis to wait for three of his top players: Campiotti (quarterback), Cedano (wide receiver) and Matt Ender (defensive back).
All three players were a part of the team that won the CIF State Division III title in 2016, and reached the Holiday Hoop Classic third-place game last December.
“We’re struggling big time with team cohesiveness and buying into what it is we want to do … what our style needs to be,” Lewis said. “We’re showing flashes, but haven’t put it all together. I thought we showed some promise against Tracy last week, but we took another step back today.”
Campolindo was paced by David Ahazie, who scored a game-high 17 points. Carter Mahaney tallied 16 and Trevin Kroichick 11.
The Buffaloes will play the loser of Modesto Christian-Ripon in Thursday’s consolation bracket. The game will tip at noon.
Manteca has lost two straight and three of its last five games. After playing Modesto Christian in one of the feature games last season, the Buffaloes will have to slug it out in the consolation bracket.
“I’m optimistic we can figure it out sooner than later,” Lewis said. “We got too many good players and athletes to keep this going.”