TURLOCK — After not playing a home game in two weeks, the Turlock boys basketball team was understandably fired up to play in front of their large crowd on Friday night.
It showed as the Bulldogs basically put Atwater early with a 15-0 run to start the game as Turlock routed the Falcons 61-39.
"This was our first home game since the kids got back from winter break," Bulldogs coach Doug Cornfoot said. "To get a crowd like this, the enthusiasm. I think it really helped us."
The Falcons (2-2 Central California Conference, 13-8 overall) couldn't match Turlock's intensity and speed from the opening tip.
It didn't help that Atwater was coming off an overtime win over Pitman on Wednesday night in which the Falcons had to exert a lot of energy to comeback from a 19-point deficit.
Turlock senior Dashawn Holcombe ignited the early run with back-to-back baskets to start the game.
The pressure from Holcombe and the Bulldogs' guard tandem of Deran Bains and Demsen McFaddin was too much for a depleted Atwater team that was playing without three of its guards.
The first five minutes of the game were nightmarish for Atwater. The Falcons managed to take just four shots as they turned the ball over seven times to help Turlock jump out to the 15-0 lead.
"It was horrible," Atwater coach Tony Hillyer said. "Turlock came out more aggressive. They pushed us around. What do you do?"
The Falcons never cut the lead to less than 12 points the rest of the way.
Holcombe paced the Bulldogs with 13 points and Bains added 11 points as Turlock moved into sole possession of second place in the CCC, one game behind Golden Valley.
"The Pitman overtime game just drained us emotionally," Hillyer said. "We were down so much and fought back. We didn't have anything left in the tank for Turlock, not to take anything away from Turlock."
Golden Valley 73, Pitman 54
TURLOCK -- The Cougars cruised past the Pride to remain all alone atop the CCC at 4-0. Evan Stillahn scored 16 points and Josh Sykes added 12 points for Golden Valley.
Patterson 67, Pacheco 57
LOS BANOS -- Keegan Sanchez's 20 points weren't enough to lead the Panthers (1-4 WAC) to an upset over the Tigers. Patterson's Daniel Marquez led all scorers with 23.
Le Grand 57, Mariposa 54
MARIPOSA -- Mauricio Contreras scored 24 points to help the Bulldogs knock off their rivals. Le Grand led by as many as 21 points, but had to hold on as the Grizzlies made a second-half charge.