The magical run by the Turlock Christian Eagles boys’ basketball team has come to a close, but it will never be forgotten after first-year head coach Travis Thompson and his team did something that hadn’t been done before — reach the section final and state tournament — all in one year.
It took less than nine months for Thompson and his squad to turn things around for a team that had won just nine games a year prior.
They nearly doubled their wins and pulled off upsets in the postseason, bringing down No. 1 and No. 4 in route to the Division-VI Sac-Joaquin Section final.
Following their section final loss to Vacaville Christian,
they earned a berth into the Division-VI CIF State tournament, but fell to No.
1 Cornerstone Christian on Wednesday, 79-48.
“Honestly, I am so proud of the guys, but our first thing was to withstand their run in the first quarter. We saw they were blowing teams out in the first quarter and we wanted to withstand their pressure,” said Thompson. “Still a heck of a year, but turnovers hurt us.”
TC stayed in the game for as long as they could, without one of their stars Gideon Hoag, who was also missing for most of the playoff run, but was a vital asset to the team, especially when Zack Silva was out.
By the end of the first quarter, TC was down 13-8.
“I want to reiterate, we had a lot of things happen in school and these kids brought the community together,” said Thompson. “As we came together as a true family. As a coach you want them to all like each other and sometimes you do not have that, but we have guys that bought into the concept. I am so proud of them.”
TC continued to battle the best they could and by halftime they trailed, 37-28.
“They got out and ran and deflated us and my guys couldn’t bounce back. But we had a solid fourth, so we were in there and they are a really good team and their speed and quickness to the ball caused us some fits and we never got back to what we wanted to do and constantly get out of a hole,” said Thompson.
When the third concluded, TC was down 57-34.
In the end, TC fell 79-48.
Silva finished with a team-high 15 points. Micah Blomenkamp finished with 11 points.
“I have to tip my hat to the seniors and it doesn’t take away from my other guys, but these seniors had been part of a losing culture and they really jump started the program and look what they accomplished,” said Thompson. “The main thing was thanking the seniors for the legacy they left and the younger kids need to carry it on. They never gave up, and that is what we consider a winner. Life is uncontrollable and the way they responded and persevered — I cannot be prouder of my boys as a coach.”
TC closes the year at 17-15 overall and they graduate six seniors from the team.
“Next year I think we are going to have some size, shooters and speed and as you know we like to get up and go and we have some games with my system under their belt,” Thompson added. I am excited with what we have and I honestly think we built something. Kids want to be part of something bigger and I think we have something here at TC for that.”