The 2019-2020 season is going to be exciting for Turlock Christian varsity girls’ basketball and it's head coach Edwin Santiago who is as enthusiastic as can be coming off a successful season.
Last year, the Eagles of TC notched a Central California Athletic Alliance title with a 7-1 league record.
“This year I expect to be competitive in our league. Everyone is always competitive and we had a very competitive year last year, it was exciting and very close games,” said Santiago. “We have a very talented and athletic team this year.”
They return six players from last year and bring in three newcomers.
The three newcomers include juniors Mikayla Ray, Allison Blomenkamp and Holly De Jong.
Ray and De Jong are two of the four captains for Santiago. Seniors Paige Vieira and Jillian Vierra are the other two captains.
Other players on the squad include seniors Jocelyn Gamez, Jillian de la Motte, Sarah Comfort, and Aliyah Amaya.
“Very strong leadership and communication between those four, which helps us move forward. This team is made up of juniors and seniors,” said Santiago. “Only three new players, six of our nine are returning from varsity. Very talented group. With the athleticism and building stamina, not worried about having limited numbers. We are just going to run different offenses and defenses that we haven't had in the last few years.”
Since the 2007-2008 season, Santiago and the Eagles have won a total of 241 games. Santiago has seen just one losing season in that span, including 11 of 12 winning seasons in league as well.
Last year, they amassed an overall record of 16-9 in the process and earned a berth in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-VI playoffs, where they fell in the first round to Ripon Christian on the road, 67-30.
TC has not hosted a home playoff game since the 2015-16 season. Since then, they have had to go on the road twice in back-to-back seasons.
“Our goal this year, it would be great to have a playoff game at home, not just make the playoffs,” said Santiago. “You start playing at home, crazy things can happen, exciting things, and anything can happen and I hear the Sacramento teams are all phenomenal, but having a goal to do well and have a home game, which we haven’t had in the last few years, that would be one of our goals.”
Santiago is hoping that this year’s squad could overcome some obstacles, but they are capable of something different on the court says Santiago.
“Much better post team than we have in the past, our speed because of the underclassmen is much greater, our three coming players run the court very well and bring solid chemistry and I see the gains they have made already, much faster and more ready to compete,” said Santiago. “Successful season is that we leave our signature on the court, not about wins or losses, it is that we are together, and we are building relationships that we sustain during difficult times and processes,” said Santiago.
“It is always exciting to work on communication and some of these players are very wise with their basketball IQ that they tell me sometimes what is going to work and what may not, they are very alert and wise, they make me look good.”
TC’s next game is the Foundation Game against Delta Charter at 6 p.m. Nov. 25.