The Turlock Christian boys basketball team’s Cinderella story came to an end in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-VI Championship tournament on Friday after the No. 8 Eagles fell to No. 3 Vacaville Christian from the Golden One Center in Sacramento, 58-45.
“It is surreal to be honest,” said TC head coach Travis Thompson. “To get all the way to the Section championship in our first year is a phenomenal feeling to see such a quick turnaround. We dealt with many injuries and a lot of guys had to step up. It was our motto of ‘next guy up’ and it’s just a testament to where we are today and we are going from 9-17 year last year to State. You cannot put it into words, the excitement and everything.”
TC beat No. 9 Alpha Charter in the first round then followed with the biggest upset of the bracket after they took down No. 1 Stockton Christian to clinch a berth in the semifinal game on Wednesday against No. 4 Big Valley Christian.
As a No. 8 seed, TC once again defied the odds as they took down a league foe for the second time this year to secure their best finish in school history, after reaching the section title game for the first time ever.
Following their big performance against BVC, TC struggled on Friday.
Zack Silva scored a team-high 13 points and Micah Blomenkamp notched 10 points to secure the only double-digit performance of the game for the Eagles.
VC saw four different players score in double digits.
TC also shot 8 of 16 from the free throw line and made just three of 20 three-point field goal attempts.
“One of those games where we got great looks but it just didn’t fall and they killed us in the offensive glass,” said Thompson. “We gave up 25 turnovers, still lost by 13 and missed a lot of free throws… just one of those days.”
TC was down 27-17 at the half of Friday’s Section finale.
The lead was cut to six in the third quarter, but after that the turnovers snowballed and VC managed to take advantage of the miscues.
“We got a few straight turnovers but I have to be humble in defeat, but they did an awesome job on Zack and our shooters and they crashed the glass very well and made it very hard on Zack. They scouted us well,” said Thompson. “Just one of those games we just couldn’t hit shots.
TC shot 40 percent from three-point range for the year while averaging over 61 points per game after Friday’s contest.
Heading into the State tournament, TC is 17-14 overall and snapped a five-game winning streak, but have won five of six.
“We would have hosted with a win, but maybe knocking off No. 1 and No.4 is good enough,” Thompson added. “The bracket will come out Sunday on the CIF website and 20-plus teams. Be tough, but we are here for the first time and to make it in first year is phenomenal and hope we can make another run.”