TURLOCK -- The scoreboard looked ugly.
The Turlock girls basketball team dispatched of a snake-bitten Merced squad 66-49.
However, Merced coach Brad Reed was in a half-glass full sort of mood.
For good reason.
After stumbling out of the gate, Reed's girls had played toe-to-toe with the top team in the Central California Conference for the final three quarters.
Merced (1-1 CCC, 4-11 overall) cut a 22-point, second-half deficit to just eight points in the third quarter before Turlock finally pulled away again in the fourth quarter.
"Really, I'd say those last three quarters we didn't give then anything that you saw in that first quarter," Reed said.
"We came out a little rattled and when they picked up the pressure we were rattled a little more.
"In the second half, we got back and stopped giving up as many easy baskets."
Rachel Finnegan and Turlock (2-0, 14-3) shredded Merced in the first quarter.
Finnegan scored eight of her game-high 24 points in a quarter that saw Turlock take a 23-8 lead.
The CCC's top player also pulled down 12 rebounds.
However, Merced kept coming.
Rachel Turner scored 17 points and Rebecca Schonauer added 11 points.
Merced used a 14-1 run to cut the lead to 46-38 with 57 seconds left in the third quarter.
Nicole Serpa and Kayla Schuman each hit key 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to help stretch the lead to 56-41 with 5:30 left in the game.
"We ran our pattern offense better and we got some good looks," Reed said.
"If we knock a couple more of those shots down, we put a little more scare into them.
"Then we really would have found out something."
TURLOCK 66, MERCED 49
Merced 8 11 19 11 -- 49
Turlock 23 13 12 18 -- 66
MERCED -- Shelly Blackwell 17, Kelsie Hanson 4, Lauren Lilly 7, Rebecca Schonauer 11, Rachel Turner 7, Jealinda Mills 3. Totals: 17 11-24 49.
TURLOCK -- Kayla Schuman 9, Christian Richardson 7, Camille Roberts 11, Candace Sakuda 2, Rachel Finnegan 24, Shanice Brown 2, Natalie Dykzeul 4, Nicole Serpa. Totals: 26 10-16 66.
3-pointers: Merced 4 (Blackwell 2, Schonauer 2), Turlock 4 (Schuman 1, Roberts 1, Finnegan 1, Serpa 1); Team Fouls: Merced 13, Turlock 18; Fouled Out: None.
Records: Merced 1-1 CCC, 4-11; Turlock 2-0, 14-3.
JV -- Merced 43-19.
Freshmen -- Merced won.
JV -- Pitman won.