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Coyotes fend off Eagles for home tourney win
Denair boys
Denairs Isaac Starks (right) and Turlock Christians Dominic Zendejas (left) fight off each other during the first half of Thursdays game. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

Carson Haringa and Isaac Starks had a big night for Denair (4-7) High in Thursday’s opening round of their Holiday Tournament after both finished with double-doubles.

Turlock Christian (0-7) was looking to turn their dismal season start around when both sides met in a preseason match on Dec. 2, but the Eagles are still looking for that first win.

Denair outscored TC 22-10 in the fourth quarter, taking advantage of the three players who fouled out for TC and Denair held on for the 60-51 win to snap their five-game losing streak.

“We knew it’d be tough, but we competed as much as we would like to and we didn’t play so well at Hughson earlier in the week so it’s nice to come out and play a good half,” said Denair Coach Garett Elliott.

“We really couldn’t do much since we had three starters fouled out so we were playing with our 6, 7 and 8 guys but they did well just not the same as having those senior leaders out there,” said TC head coach Eddie Sai.

Coleman Kirkendall, Manny Preciado and Dominic Zendejas all fouled out for TC late in the fourth quarter after playing a tough and consistent first three quarters.

Preciado led all TC scorers with 12 points and Ben Balswick was second on the team with 11 points.

Haringa added 14 points, 13 rebounds, three blocks and three steals and Dylan Mann scored 7 points and added 8 rebounds.

Denair went on to force TC to turn the ball over 17 times for the game.

“Defense picked off turnovers and we brought intensity in the second that we did not have in the first,” said Elliott. “Carson (Haringa) came down with a ton of boards and hit some big shots for us on the outside, but the consistency of Isaac (Starks) kept everyone level headed.”

Starks combined for 25 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and eight steals while shooting 12 of 15 from the free-throw line.

TC had turned the ball over 38 times in Monday’s overtime loss against Le Grand but they did a better job of possessing the ball.

“We are getting better,” said Sai. “We need to keep the turnovers down and that is what I keep telling the kids, we can’t be playing sloppy ball but it’s a new season and a new group of guys with little varsity experience so it’s a big step and these kids are learning how much of a different game it is.”

Sophomore Max Tyson added 8 points and 8 rebounds for the TC Eagles.

“We are still learning and teaching these young kids but we will eventually get our win,” Sai added. “I thought we did a pretty good job but that athlete for Denair Mr. (Isaac) Starks is a great player and runs the floor so well, nothing to take away from Denair though because they played hard.”

TC will play Waterford at 5 p.m. tonight.

Denair will get a second shot at Hughson this time in the second round at 8 p.m. tonight.

“Hughson got us on Tuesday, we didn’t have a couple of our bigger players in that game so it will be nice to get the starting ‘bigs’ out there,” Elliott added. “They get a lot of points up on the board so we need to control the boards and control the pace of the game, no extra possessions and keep them off their game.”