TURLOCK -- John Sykes was ticked off.
Not only did the Golden Valley senior have a slam dunk waved off for offensive interference, but he watched what was once an 11-point, fourth-quarter lead disappear when Turlock's Eric Wetzel scored on a putback to tie the game at 59-59 with 3:48 left on the clock.
Sykes had seen enough.
The 6-foot-5 point guard wasn't going to be stopped.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Merced Sun-Star
The next two times Sykes touched the ball, he powered his way to the basket for two big layups as GV pulled away late to defeat Turlock 73-66 on Friday night.
"I got a little mad," said Sykes, who led Golden Valley with 21 points. "I was tired of it.
"I was going to get to the basket."
The win keeps Golden Valley (6-2 Central California Conference, 19-4 overall) on the heels of Merced (8-1 CCC) atop the conference standings.
Golden Valley had fought and clawed its way to a comfortable lead midway through the third quarter against Turlock (5-4, 14-10).
Donte Scott -- who was 10 for 10 from the free-throw line -- helped GV open up a 49-35 lead with four straight free throws with 4:50 remaining in the third quarter.
Golden Valley's big three of Sykes, Scott (20 points) and Alex Fletcher (17 points) came up big again.
However, Turlock made its run early in the fourth quarter.
Wetzel scored eight of his 18 points during a Turlock 13-2 run in the fourth quarter.
Sykes had his dunk waved off when the referee ruled he had pulled the rim down with his left hand before throwing the ball through with his right.
"I kind of saw what the ref saw, but I had to argue that I didn't," joked Hunter.
"I thought John then took over the game the next two minutes. We needed that to happen.
"He took the ball to the hole under control and aggressively."
Sykes, Fletcher and Scott all chipped in as Golden Valley scored seven straight points to retake a 66-59 lead with 2:17 left.
"It can go one of two ways after Turlock came back to tie it," Hunter said.
"We can hang our heads and fold or we can do what we did."
Golden Valley held Turlock to just 2-of-11 shooting from the floor in the final 3 minutes.
Turlock's Travis Souza led all scorers with 22 points.
Golden Valley is back in action on Wednesday against Buhach Colony before a showdown with Merced on Friday.
"We play Buhach on Wednesday and I don't think they are going to go winless," Hunter said.
"We have to play that game on Wednesday and then we can talk about Merced."
Golden Valley 23 14 16 20 -- 73
Turlock 21 10 13 22 -- 66
GOLDEN VALLEY -- Daniel Garcia 3, Scott Livesay 3, Richard Thomas 5, Donte Scott 20, John Sykes 21, Alx Fletcher 17, Garrett Hill 4. Totals 24 19-28 73.
TURLOCK -- Jeffrey Severson 3, Anthony Hubbard 14, Shane Kumar 6, Travis Souza 22, Robert Mendes 2, Eric Wetzel 18, Dominic Assali 1. Totals: 22 13-16 66.
3-pointers: Golden Valley 6 (Fletcher 2, Garcia 1, Livesay 1, Thomas 1, Sykes 1). Turlock 7 (Hubbard 2, Kumar 2, Souza 2, Severson 1); Total Fouls: GV 15, Turlock 23; Fouled Out: Severson (T), Hubbard (T).
Records: Golden Valley 6-2 CCC, 19-4 overall; Turlock 5-4, 14-10.
JV -- Turlock won 59-45.