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Coyotes fend off TC Eagles in second meeting
Denair sophomore Drew Pritchard scored 10 points in Thursdays 65-43 win over Turlock Christian. - photo by CANDY PADILLA / The Journal

Thursday was the start of the Denair Boys Basketball Invitational and the home team and Turlock Christian squared off for the nightcap in what turned out to be a full effort from the Coyotes to end it with a 65-34 win.

“We didn't show up to play,” said TC head coach Eddie Sai about his team, which has lost five straight after Thursday's game.

Denair, which plays with more than half its football squad on the basketball team, looked determined on Thursday night on the court.

“Best game we shot so far, I think our guys did a good job breaking press which got us a lot of lay-ups, which gave us probably our best shooting percentage in a game so far this year after eight games,” said Denair coach Garett Elliott.

It what also the second pre-league meeting between these two after Denair topped TC, 49-46, back on Nov. 29.

“It could have been our kids were more prepared this time because they had faced them before, so second time the guys have more games under their belts,” said Elliott.

The Coyotes played their eighth game on Thursday, whereas TC was into their fifth of the year.

Denair had also faced teams from higher divisions in Calaveras, McNair, Hilmar and Hughson.

“We have played some tough teams and one of them being Calaveras, they are a well-rounded squad and we are trying to find our identity as a team,” said Elliott. “Knowing we have some size and understanding we can control the inside paint is one of those things that should be part of our identity.”

Denair currently has four players standing at 6 feet or taller. They took advantage of that during their second meeting with TC and never let go of the throttle.

A total of 12 players from Denair scored at least once while all but one of the 14 had at least a rebound.

“Just really well rounded,” said Elliott.

The high percentage shots continued for Denair, but the three -point shots unfortunately never did.

Denair shot 0 of 13 for the night while TC also struggled to make jump shots, scoring just three points in the opening quarter and seven in the fourth.

Matt Storms of Denair scored a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Carson Haringa was the only other Coyote to score in double digits with 10 points.

“We got the buckets but overall I think it’s the mentality tonight, knowing they can is the confidence that they have and can beat these teams as well,” Elliott added.