After fans get situated in their seats at the Calvary Baptist Gym for the Turlock Christian boys basketball opener on Tuesday, they might just see something that they haven’t seen much of before. That’s height.
This season, the Eagles possess a trio of players who hover well above 6 feet. It’s an uncommon sight for most lower-division schools like Turlock Christian, which has a small pool of athletes to choose from because of small enrollment. And their tallness might be what the Eagles have been looking for, especially after coming off an 11-16 overall season that was just a few wins from a playoff spot.
Height, third-year coach Scott Snyder said, is just one of the improvements the Eagles made during the offseason.
“We have even more height and more speed,” he said. “We have kids who can shoot. I think we can get up and down the court really well.”
Brandon Rogers is a senior who is one of the taller players for the Eagles, as he’s about 6-foot-4 and will take up a spot on the wing. Last season, in his second year starting, he averaged 12 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.4 blocks a game. He’s not the only returner, though. Chase Gonzalez and Stetson both saw some solid playing time last season as underclassmen.
But, for the most part, the Eagles welcome several new faces.
“The challenge for us is to take the kids who are new and to get them integrated and incorporated into our playing system,” Snyder said. “I like what I see, though. We’re off to a good start.”
Turlock Christian plays at Big Valley Christian in a nonconference game on Monday at 7 p.m. before hosting the home opener against Elliot Christian at 7:30 p.m. The Eagles will play in several other contests and tournaments before Southern League play, which will welcome powerhouse Ripon Christian this season. It was the Knights who played for a Sac-Joaquin Section Division V Championship earlier this year, and Turlock Christian knows that their presence makes the league schedule that much tougher.
However, the Eagles are up for the challenge.
“Out of league wise, I think we can win a majority of our games,” Rogers said. “The league, obviously, is going to be tougher this year adding Ripon Christian. But I think we can make the playoffs this year.”
That’s something Turlock Christian hasn’t achieved since 2006.
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