Fresh off a Big Valley Christian Tournament Championship, Turlock Christian High put another feather in its cap with a 52-45 victory over Pitman High on Monday. Senior Halie Bergman once again led the Lady Eagles, scoring 27 points despite being double and even triple teamed throughout the night by the Pride.
“This was Pitman High school against Turlock Christian; it’s like a city rivalry,” TC’s head coach Edwin Santiago said. “We want to be the best in Turlock; they want to be the best in Turlock.”
“It’s huge for us. We’re a Division VI school, they're a Division II school,” Bergman said of the win. “I think we proved we’re the best in Turlock.”
TC was dealt a blow early in the first quarter when junior Monique McMeechan was injured and forced to leave the court. McMeechan’s departure coupled with Pitman’s strategic blanketing of Bergman put pressure on TC’s young supporting cast to get the job done but by the end of the first half it was apparent they were up to the challenge.
“It’s kind of frustrating at times but my teammates they did a great job and they put the ball in the hoop,” Bergman said of being double teamed. “We were still scoring. So if they want to play four on three we’ll still score.”
“I was impressed with the underclassmen, they really contributed today,” Santiago added.
Pitman led in both the first and second quarters as senior Marissa Rouse took turns dishing the ball to seniors Jackey Kuharski (10 points) and Alex DeChari (11 points) and sophomore Cady Riley (10 points). But the Eagle defense continually stifled the Pride as Bergman and senior Arin Morelli took turns taking the basketball away from their players with 4 and 6 steals, respectively. After a one point advantage in the first quarter and a knotted second quarter, TC entered halftime with a 24-23 lead.
The third quarter was another even affair as both teams put 13 points on the board. The game remained tight until the final minutes of regulation, but a host of TC treys and solid shooting from the line put the win out of Pitman’s reach.
Monday’s win was TC’s sixth straight and marked the first loss of Pitman’s short schedule. Both teams will compete in a couple more pre-season games before each enter their respective brackets at this year’s West Coast Jamboree on Dec. 27.
“It’s the best competition we face all year so we’re going down there to do the very best we can and prepare ourselves for league,” Santiago said. “It’s an experience that makes us better players.”
“It’s a huge tournament for us. It’s where we see where we’re at as a team and grow closer as a team,” Bergman said. “We plan on playing the best we can and winning some games.”
Pitman’s next game is on the road against Hilmar High on Tuesday and TC hosts Millennium High Thursday.