Turlock Christian High (1-7) entered the first round of the Denair basketball tournament on Thursday pitted against an eager Hughson High (2-5). Both teams were looking for their second win of the season and a spot in the second round winner’s bracket.
The Huskies claimed their second win and the right to face Denair High in the second round with a 63-47 rout of the Eagles.
“We’re getting there but we have a long way to go,” Turlock Christian head coach Michael Williams said. “(The team) had the same coach for three years, and to come in and change everything they’re doing; it takes a while.”
It was a slow start for the Eagles, who only managed to score five points in the first quarter. Hughson’s aggressive defense smothered TC’s offense and forced a staggering 46 turnovers. By halftime the Huskies led 30-18.
“If we start taking care of the ball we’ll get a lot of possessions and opportunities every game,” Williams said. “Right now we’re limiting how many shots we get just by turning the ball over.”
The Eagle’s second half didn’t go any better than the first as they only managed to score six points in the third quarter and trailed by as many as 30 points at times. Although they led by a sizeable margin, the Huskies continued pressing the Eagles — adding to their score with precise shooting by Austin Pimentel. Hughson’s game plan finally stalled in the fourth quarter after rotating out their starting players, but by that time the damage had been done.
“They played really well,” Williams said of his team. “We just turned the ball over a lot.”
The Eagles minimized their turnovers in their second game of the tournament against Cristo Rey High. The disciplined play of TC and combination of Chase Gonzales and Micah Larson’s offensive performances led to a 59-54 win for the Eagles.
“That combination really allowed us to execute our game plan,” Williams said of Gonzales and Larson, who finished the game with 17 and 15 points respectively.
After a first half of back and forth play with the Trojans, TC maintained a double digit lead for most of the second half, outscoring the Trojans 17-7 in the third. A pair of last minute three pointers by Cristo Rey shortened the gap but wasn’t enough to win the game.
“We handled the pressure better than our first game,” Williams said. “The guys were a lot more relaxed.”
TC now enters the final day of the Denair tournament where they will face Argonaut High in the consolation championship game.
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