Turlock, Merced to meet at MC Tournament

SALIDA -- Two of the top contenders in the Central California Conference are going to face each other in a consolation game in the Modesto Christian Holiday Hoops Classic.

Turlock and Merced high schools lost tough first-round games late Friday night, then came back to lose again Saturday morning and afternoon.

Merced gave up a late lead, falling to Colony of Ontario 77-66 in Saturday's first game. Turlock followed with an 80-65 loss to Sheldon of Sacramento, in a game where the Huskies were without leading scorer Darius Nelson.

Turlock and Merced will face off on Monday at 10 a.m., the first game of the day.

"We just played flat," Turlock coach Doug Cornfoot said. "We aren't very big or very athletic, so we have to play with emotion and effort. But we didn't do too much of that (Saturday)."

Travis Souza led the Bulldogs with 23 points, and Anthony Hubbard and Eric Wetzel each scored 14 points, but the Bulldogs fell behind early and struggled to catch up. Nelson, the brother of former Duke University standout DeMarcus Nelson, didn't play after he was ejected from Sheldon's first-round loss to San Leandro.

"We got into the tournament because we want to see how we do against good size and speed," Cornfoot said. "We'll run into that in league against teams such as Golden Valley and Merced. But we have to play tough from the very beginning. For whatever reason, it wasn't there today."

Monday, Turlock faces merced and red-hot guard Allen Huddleston. A day after scoring 50 points in a loss to Modesto Christian, Huddleston poured in 32 points in the loss to Colony.

"Huddleston's on a roll," Cornfoot said. "We'll have to figure out a way to stop him."

Merced led the Titans 50-42 at one point, but Colony pulled away with a 31-15 fourth quarter.

"We felt we should've won this one," Merced coach Marcus Knott said. "We were up late, but let off our concentration level. We had tired legs from playing the night before, but you still have to go out there and get it done."

Huddleston made six 3-pointers, giving him 13 for the two games.

"It's a change of pace for Allen, moving from the 2-guard to the point guard," Knott said of his University of the Pacific-bound guard. "But he's going to get better at it. It's something he'll have to learn for the next level."

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