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TC falls to Loyalton in Nor-Cal state semi-final
TC girls
The Turlock Christian girls basketball team fell to Loyalton in the Division-VI Nor-Cal State semifinal round on Saturday. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

When No. 7 Turlock Christian's varsity girls’ basketball team upset the No. 2 team in the Nor-Cal Division-VI tournament, Contra Costa Christian, they felt a sense of accomplishment after a disappointing Section final outcome, but they knew the journey wasn't over.

TC met No. 3 Loyalton in a semi-final meeting and it didn't fare well for the Eagles after the final whistle blew.

A total of 37 turnovers were committed by TC in Saturday's game, and after a tight opening quarter, Loyalton continued to push and take advantage of the Eagle miscues as they ended up toppling TC, 74-30.

“There is no question who was the better team,” said TC head coach Edwin Santiago. “I mean there is really no question. Loyalton played tough defense and we worked as hard as we could and they took off in the second half.”

Loyalton outscored TC 36-14 in the third and fourth quarter alone.

Rachel Peterman had a game-high 27 points on an 11 of 18 effort. Hayden Ketchum of Loyalton had 18 points and as a team, Loyalton made 46 percent of their shots as opposed to TC's 18 percent shooting night.

“Rachel, she can play anywhere, she is really talented and Loyalton, they have speed, quite faster than any player we had that's for sure,” said Santiago. “And their fast break was far more effective than ours was and we couldn't really catch up with our fastest girls.”

After the opening quarter, TC was down 20-12, but in the second Loyalton went on an 18-4 surge and blew the game wide open.

“Nobody could really make any shots either,” said Santiago. “They forced us to not play our type of game.”

TC made only 1 of 10 from the three-point line while Loyalton made three times as many.

With a 21-10 overall record, TC has now amassed 20-plus win seasons in eight consecutive years under coach Santiago's tenure, including a combined record of 200-76 over the last nine seasons.

Santiago's 200th career win at TC came in the first round of the Nor-Cal state tournament against CCC.

“It's a unique opportunity to also be a parent and have my own kids in the program here at TC,” said Santiago. “I believe in the program and school and no matter how difficult it is we know the next year will present itself, we will be young but next season begins today, fresh new slate.”

In the past eight years, TC has reached the Section Championship game in six of them, including eight straight Section semifinal appearances.

“I am thankful that I have been able to coach into next year and hopefully years to come,” said Santiago. “I was thankful that the recent nine girls who played four years. I learned a lot from them and in the end the importance is the relationships we build. You don't remember the records or high scorer or stats, as time moves on. It is the discipline we learned from each other to organize us in life and allows us to continue our journey.”

During the last four years, TC has made the Section final in three straight years.

“Without the discipline we wouldn’t be able to grow and we learned about our weaknesses and how to get back up to know that there will be another opportunity down the road in life,” Santiago added.