The Turlock Christian High varsity boys basketball team began its Southern Athletic League play on Tuesday night as they traveled to Delhi High, who came into the game having won the previous two meetings.
This time, the Eagles knew that the game would be won in the paint—it was. They used their big bodies to penetrate the inside and drop easy buckets despite Delhi’s strong efforts in the final seconds but it wasn’t enough as TC notched a 64-61 win.
"We knew it was going to be tough. I told the guys before it started it wouldn’t be easy,” said Turlock Christian head coach Eddie Sai.
Both teams were on their game, with a fast paced match right from the start. TC found themselves up by as many as 11 points in the first half, but after that Delhi began to cause turnovers which resulted in both teams going back and forth.
The Hawks played great all game long as they managed to cause turnovers with their energetic style of defense and came away with 18 steals to the Eagles' 11.
“Doesn’t matter who we play, we always try to play the way we did tonight — fast pace, fast break and full court press defense,” Delhi head coach Eugene Drummond said. “I know we are not as tall, but this group works extremely hard.”
It wasn’t until the fourth that Delhi found themselves down by only two points. Every time the Hawks would score, TC responded with two more baskets and that carried into the closing seconds of the contest.
Doomed by three points with three seconds in regulation, Delhi’s Christian Desousa looked to control an inbound pass but Turlock Christian’s Seth Retemeyer had another thing in mind as he knocked the ball away and the clock wound down to secure the win.
“We had a game plan in those final seconds; we were going to foul them half court to force two free throws instead of them shooting a three to tie it,” Sai said about the final three seconds. “[Delhi] has a bunch of guys that love to play the sport of basketball and they're very scrappy. Coach [Drummond] has them playing very hard and I commend him for that.”
Led by Brady Turner’s double-double—18 points and 14 rebounds—the Eagles were able to control the paint when the points were needed as Kameron Vogt added on 13 points and seven boards. Drake Dutra finished with 14 points and seven rebounds.
Delhi’s Nick Hernandez was able to drain 21 points for the game while Jose Cruz—who was in foul trouble early—knocked down 15 points after an impressive fourth quarter.
“Every game is going to be fun this year. Any night, every game can be very close no matter who is playing," Drummond added. "It’s always going to be tight. Tonight both teams played really hard and it was a good game, probably one of the better games I have seen.”
Delhi will continue its league play as they host Waterford High at 6 p.m. on Friday night.
The next game for the Eagles of Turlock Christian will be at Ripon Christian as they square off at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.