EL DORADO HILLS — The Turlock Bulldogs were just too much for El Dorado’s girls basketball team to handle Thursday in the opening round of the Trojan Shoot Out at Oak Ridge.
The Division I Bulldogs jumped out to a 21-13 lead after one quarter of play and despite a gritty challenge from the Cougars over the next three periods, Turlock put a ‘W’ on the scoreboard with a 50-40 victory. El Dorado plays again Friday at 8 p.m. against Nevada Union.
The Cougars tightened up on defense in the second quarter and held Turlock to just nine points, but they only managed seven on their end of the court. Neither team scored until El Dorado’s Emily Boyd hit for two with 4:57 left, quickly answered by Hannah Bertomen’s three.
Maddie Zuber’s puback and Sarah Mackey’s three kept El Dorado within striking distance as the teams went to halftime with Turlock still leading 29-20.
El Dorado outscored the Bulldogs 22-21 in the second half, but could get no closer than four points twice – the first at the end of the third when Sam Reeder took an out pass from Courtney Macklin and buried a three from the top, and again early in the fourth when Mackey converted on a three-point play.
Mackey, Macklin and Boyd were solid on the boards, combining for 13 rebounds in the second half and Mackey had a good night blocking, but the more experienced Bulldogs were able to penetrate and maintain their lead offensively while forcing El Dorado turnovers and poor shot selection with a smothering defense.
Turlock, 23-6 in 2009-2010 and 12-0 in league, benefited from four returning seniors from that team. The young Cougars, the only Division III team in the tournament, has just two seniors back from last year’s championship team, Reeder and Mackey. The pair led the team – Mackey with 19 points and Reeder with 15. Boyd chipped in four, Zuber scored three and Savannah Barnhill contributed two points.
“We’re playing tough teams in preseason learning to play at the varsity level,” Cougar coach Pat Winter said. “This is just a great group of girls, they are so much fun but even though our younger players were very successful at the freshman and junior varsity level (23-1 over two years), the varsity game is so much different.
“They are starting to grasp the concepts we’re focusing on like sponges and they have great physciality. We’re devoting the preseason to learning and improving. We’re taking baby steps, but we’ll be ready when the league season starts.”