TURLOCK — Golden Valley High boys basketball coach Keith Hunter learned long ago one of the best ways to get a player's attention is take away his playing time.
That's how Evan Stillahn found himself on the bench for most of the third quarter. Hunter was unhappy with his rebounding effort.
Stillahn redeemed himself in a big way in the fourth quarter, as he scored 11 of his 21 points to help the Cougars erase a nine-point deficit in a 58-51 win over Turlock on Friday night.
"I was upset," Hunter said. "(Stillahn) wasn't blocking out, but he played his heart out in the fourth quarter.
"Josh (Sykes) can take on one or two guys on the glass, but he can't take on four guys. We've got to help him out.
"But, Evan played solid, tough offensive basketball. He made some big shots when we weren't scoring."
It was a back-breaking loss for Turlock (4-2 Central California Conference, 14-9 overall), which came into the game with an opportunity to pull even atop the conference standings.
For the second time this year, the Bulldogs let a big lead get away in the fourth quarter.
Turlock led 43-34 after Darren Trainor scored on a three-point play with 6 minutes, 45 seconds, left in the game.
However, Golden Valley (6-0, 19-4) came roaring back as Stillahn and J.T. Edmunds hit back-to-back 3-pointers to help cut the deficit to 43-42 with 5:18 left.
"We had two bad possessions, which led to a layup and and they hit a three. There goes your nine-point lead," Turlock coach Doug Cornfoot said. "You have to give Golden Valley credit. They're well coached and they play with confidence.
"They do what it takes to win."
The Cougars outscored Turlock 26-13 in the fourth quarter. Christian Carroll added eight of his 17 points in the final quarter, with all eight coming from the free-throw line.
"Once we get it going it seems like we're firing on all cylinders," Stillahn said. "When shots start going in we start playing better defense."
With Sykes on the bench for the final 5 minutes of the first half, Turlock dominated the boards, but could only take a 28-23 lead into intermission.
The Bulldogs' Dashawn Holcombe scored 10 of his team-high 18 points in the first half.
"We got absolutely manhandled in the first half," Hunter said. "I don't know if (Turlock) had a possession where they didn't get a second shot.
"It was a miracle we were only down five points at halftime."