The 2015-16 season is one that the Turlock Christian boys basketball team is leaving behind them.
They are one year older, wiser and far more improved for the upcoming season according to head coach Eddie Sai.
It also helps that they return the core of last year's team which saw progress occur in spurts with the help of guard Mason Mark and forward Max Tyson, who by the end of the year was averaging well over a double-double.
“I think for this year I have guys that want to play basketball and they are hungry and they love the game,” said Sai. “We are working on skill sets and we are excited about what we are going to do this year, we are going to surprise a lot of people.”
In 25 games last season Tyson averaged 10.6 points per game and 13.1 rebounds to top all Eagles as a sophomore.
Mark was second on the team in scoring with 9.4 points per game and 8.7 rebounds.
“Mason and Max both really bulked up and played tons of ball over summer,” said Sai. “Max played travel ball and they are coming in with a mission this year.”
Alongside the strong duo, will be Zach Silva and Jack Swanson along with a team that went 14-4 during summer league play.
“It was less games but we had more time to get prepared,” said Sai of the summer ball played by his team.
Competing in the Central California Athletic Alliance with a 3-11 record last year wasn't good enough for a playoff spot and if they hope to turn the tables, more wins will definitely have to follow.
Prior to last year, the Eagles had gone three straight years with making the postseason under coach Sai. Last year, the team went 4-21 with no seniors on the team and failed to make the postseason for the first time in three years.
“We were young as well and now we have experience coming back and transfers and young guys and we played well this summer,” said Sai of his teams’ capabilities.
One of the team’s biggest victories during the summer time was against Buhach Colony of the Central California Conference.
After the victory over the Thunder, the Eagles knew that this team coming in had a tremendous ability to be competitive.
“We played some D-I schools and beat them and so we are excited about the season and about what is coming and we are looking forward to seeing where this takes us this year,” said Sai.
The team will also have big time hopper Caleb Hope, a transfer from Big Valley Christian, however, he will not be eligible to play until January.
“He just brings a dynamic to this team and dishes the ball well and I think we have a great team overall,” said Sai.
To also help pump the Eagles up is the adoption of a new motto which is, “a loud team is a winning team,” according to Sai.
“We started off the season that a loud gym is a winning gym and a quiet gym is a losing gym and that is the way it is and you want to be loud on the bench and out on the court,” he added. “These guys are ready and believe in what we are doing and to get back to the playoffs and we are going to back and finish at least top three in league at least.”
The Eagles will take on the Denair Coyotes on the road at 8 p.m. Tuesday.