As far as Reggie Nelson was concerned, there wasn't much that needed to be said.
With a possible fourth straight Central California Conference championship on the line, Merced went to the bench trailing Turlock by two points after the third quarter.
"We had to keep running," Nelson said. "Just like the last game we played them.
"When we stopped running they made their run. All that had to be said was keep running."
Merced did just that.
Nelson and company picked up the pace and ran away from Turlock, opening the fourth quarter with 13-2 run as Merced took sole possession atop the CCC with a 70-63 win on Wednesday night in front of a soldout crowd at Merced High.
The win gives Merced (7-1 CCC, 19-4 overall) a one-game lead over Turlock (6-2, 18-5) and Pitman (6-2, 15-8) with four games left to play.
But it wasn't before some very tense moments against Turlock.
"A possible CCC title on the line, we're down two points....it was scary," said Merced senior Brian Cooksey, who led Merced with 18 points and nine rebounds. "My heart was racing. We had to come out with more energy.
"I told Reggie before the fourth quarter, 'Let's go get this one,' and we did."
Both teams made their runs throughout the game.
Merced started the second half with a 7-0 run to open up a 39-28 lead.
However, Turlock answered right back with an 11-2 run of its own to tie the game at 41-41.
Travis Souza's two free throws at the end of the third quarter gave Turlock a 46-44 lead heading into the final quarter.
"When you get two good teams there are going to big swings of momentum," said Merced coach Marcus Knott. "What I'm proud of is the kids kept fighting and they did a great job of that.
"They kept getting after it."
Nelson ignited the Merced rally in the fourth, scoring two quick baskets to give Merced a 48-46 lead.
Merced's defense took over from there, forcing Turlock into some bad shots and careless passes.
Before Turlock could regroup, it was staring at a 57-48 deficit with 4:56 left in the game.
"They found another gear and we down-shifted," Turlock coach Doug Cornfoot said.
It was Turlock's 11th straight loss to Merced.
Turlock's four-year starter Travis Souza (21 points) has suffered through nine of those losses.
"We play with them, but we have to learn how to finish them," Cornfoot said.
Tyrone Bowie had the hot hand early for Merced, scoring 12 of his 16 points in the first half.
Merced now controls its own destiny in its bid for a fourth straight conference title and possible high seed for the playoffs.
"Now we go back to work in the gym because that's what champions do," Cooksey said.
"We get ready for Atwater on Friday. My old school. We want to get a good seed for playoffs. We want to win a section title for coach before we leave here."
Turlock 16 12 18 17 -- 63
Merced 19 13 12 26 -- 70
TURLOCK -- Connor Pearson 2, Anthony Hubbard 16, Travis Souza 21, Ashton Richardson 10, Eric Wetzel 8, Tyler Cook 1. Totals: 15 20-32 63.
MERCED -- Jaquari People 8, Otis Caery 9, Reggie Nelson 16, Brian Cooksey 18, Tyrone Bowie 16, Marques Barron 3. Totals: 21 21-34 70.
3-pointers: Turlock 2 (Souza 2), Merced 3 (Caery 2, People 1); Team Fouls: Turlock 25, Merced 22; Fouled Out -- Pearson (T), Richardson (T).
Records: Turlock 6-2 CCC, 18-5 overall; Merced 7-1 CCC, 19-4.
JV -- Turlock won 67-59.
Freshmen -- Merced won.