The Turlock Christian High boys basketball team (9-12, 4-5) went into Friday's Central California Athletic Alliance game with a goal: get one step closer to playoffs. A late push from the visiting Sierra Ridge Academy High (5-5) Rams, however, made the Eagles' road to the postseason that much harder.
With 10 seconds left in Friday's game, the Eagles called timeout and head coach Eddie Sai drew up a play for his guys. The play was immediately broken up by the Rams, however, and senior Egan Farrar was forced to drive inside the paint and missed the final shot as the time expired. The final score, 65-64 Rams, gave the Eagles their 12th loss of the year.
“Most of us are really not very used to being in that position with being down one with very little time left. We are limited with experience in that situation and that was part of it,” senior Kameron Vogt said. “The other thing was we didn’t get to run the play we drew up so that’s why we looked to find the one guy open and take it to the hole and we just didn’t get the shot we were looking for.”
“They have a lot of great athletes and they went into the hole and we didn’t box them out and they wanted it more than we did tonight,” said Sai. “I mean, we had our chance to win it with 10 seconds and get a play but it didn’t fall. You gotta be ready to play 32 minutes.”
Vogt finished with a game-high 21 points and eight rebounds.
Jordan Riise was second on the team with 14 points. Farrar had eight and Drake Dutra finished with eight as the Eagles have now lost two of their last three games, all at home.
“Losing by one shows us that every possession matters,” Vogt said. “They [Rams] had a lot of offensive rebounds tonight and we didn’t box out like we are capable of and needed to and that was a big key to this game because put-backs seemed to be half their points.”
Darius Hill, Richard Nichols, Taquan Hailey and William Barnes became the difference makers for Sierra Ridge down the stretch as the Rams found themselves down for majority of the game but bounced right back due to the effectiveness of these individuals.
TC played consistent throughout the contest as they were up for the most part, but let the Rams slide right back and the game became a competitive back and forth with the momentum shifting constantly throughout the night.
The Eagles of TC were up by five after the opening quarter and by the end of the half they led 28-23.
A very aggressive and physical third landed the Eagles atop once again by four points, which then setup a very entertaining fourth and final quarter.
“When we move the ball around and get inside you can see where the chemistry is at,” Sai said. “But then at times when they decide to play selfish ball you can see that as well which translates to one pass and shot and that is not what our game is.”
Vogt scored 11 of his 21 points in the fourth but the effort from the Eagles senior was not enough to win and instead the Rams took their fifth league win of the year.
“Moving on from this game and taking what we can is that we need to work hard every possession as hard as we can,” Vogt added. “As a senior we don’t have many games left and we need to go out there and play like it is our last game we will play.”
The next game for the Eagles will be at VA Excel High at 8 p.m. Tuesday.