Homecoming night didn't fare too well for the Turlock Christian High varsity boys basketball team on Saturday, as they fell to Big Valley Christian, 47-53.
“First of all, playing Saturday seemed to make the guys play out of sync for some reason or so it seemed like it,” said TC head coach Eddie Sai. “Plus their big guy [Giannosa] was just hard to stop, especially in the first half. He killed us with the rebounds.”
The Eagles had a hard time stopping the 6-foot-9 Daniel Giannosa of Big Valley, who notched a double-double as he grabbed 24 rebounds and scored 25 points for the game — which was played at California State University, Stanislaus' Warrior Arena.
Not only did the undersized Eagles find it hard to grab rebounds, but they had a tough time executing down the stretch with a team that was banged up.
Starting guard Egan Farrar was battling a fever that night and senior forward Jordan Riise had just recently injured his elbow.
To make matters worse, the Eagles started off lethargic in the first and second quarter before the defense stepped up their game and the offense began to click.
“We had to go to a 3-2 zone and I put Drake Dutra to cover their big guy [Giannosa] and he held him to zero points in the third quarter and really banged on him,” Sai said. “We definitely got his number for the next time we play them.”
The Eagles went down 17-29 at the half before tying the game at 31 apiece in the third. That's when the Lions took a 36-31 lead and turned the tides for good.
Big Valley hung in the final quarter to go on a 17-16 run and secure its 11th eleventh of the season.
Dutra was the Eagles most effective player of the night as he scored a team-high 22 points to go with his seven rebounds and six assists.
“[Drake] Dutra had a heckuva game all the way around, defense and offense. It was his best league game of the season,” said Sai.
Riise ended the night with 10 points and Kameron Vogt tallied seven rebounds.
As a team, the Eagles turned the ball over 11 times for the game after shooting 42 percent from two-point range and 25 from three-point range.
“Big Valley played us tough, we felt we needed to take it but the balls don’t always go your way and that is part of the game,” said Sai. “We’re not mentally tough right now. We need to be confident and prepared to battle all game long.”
TC is now 3-4 in the Central California Athletic Alliance, which is good enough for fifth in league thus far and the Eagles currently are in the playoff picture.
“If the season ended right now we would be in the postseason,” said Sai. “As these guys are seniors they need to feel like they can walk out on the court and win and they are realizing that they need to be mentally prepared when the tip off goes and to play for 32 minutes to be successful.”
The Eagles' next game will be against Millenium High at 7 p.m. Wednesday.