Turlock Christian High’s quest for a return trip to the San Joaquin Section Division V title game fell short Wednesday night when the Eagles took on Capital Christian High in a semi-final matchup at Galt High School.
TC managed to contain the Cougars in the first half, but a third quarter that saw Capital Christian nearly quadruple TC’s offensive output proved to be the game’s death nail. TC failed to bounce back and lost 60-40.
“We knew at halftime that we were in for a battle and that it wasn’t over,” TC’s head coach Edwin Santiago said. “I don’t know if there’s anything I could have done as a coach or the girls could have done as players. The better team won.”
From the get go, TC found trouble on the inside in the form of sisters Nicole and Monique Colbert. After heading into the locker room with a 26-22 halftime lead, the Eagles made some adjustments to deal with the talented siblings who were wearing them out; adjustments that ultimately blew up in their faces.
“We were struggling with their inside so we brought our perimeter players in and it backfired on us,” Santiago said.
With its perimeter players focused on the Colberts, TC’s defensive holes were exploited by Ashley Jones who dropped threes in the bucket and erased any momentum the Eagles had.
“We didn’t expect her to do that,” Santiago said of Jones. “We never recovered from the third quarter.”
While Capital Christian worked TC’s defense, Sarah Nalyanya was busy stifling the most productive Eagle on the court—Halie Bergman. Bergman struggled to overcome Nalyanya’s constant pressure and put in one of her least productive efforts to date, scoring only 16 points. TC’s Arin Morelli was also off target, going one for 13 on three point attempts and notching only eight points.
Capital Christian will now face Brookside Christian High—who defeated TC in last season’s SJS DV Championship game— today for the 2013 SJS DV Championship.
But TC’s time on the court isn’t finished. The Eagles will continue their basketball season on Wednesday in the first round of the State Playoff Tournament. Their opponents have yet to be determined.
“It was our main objective; we really wanted to go back to Sleep Train,” Santiago said. “It hurt, but we embraced it and we’re moving forward.”