Make it a sweep for the Turlock Christian girls basketball team against the Denair Coyotes this season.
It was homecoming night for the Coyotes, who hosted the Eagles on Monday in a much-anticipated Southern Athletic League bout.
With the playoffs out of reach for the Coyotes, they have continued to battle until the end and so they picked up right where they left off after barely losing to the Eagles the previous meeting. But this time the Eagles knew how to defend their weakness as it resulted in a 51-23 TC win.
“We made adjustments from last game...they were really good against our 2-3 zone so we got away from that today and did it very little; instead we changed it to man then we pressed a little, we were just on the ball,” TC head coach Edwin Santiago said.
After the win, the Eagles have won seven of its last eight league games, holding a 17-8 overall record along with a 9-3 SAL record and currently sit in the third place spot in league, just one game behind Gustine.
“We will give it our best shot from now on, just take one game at a time,” Santiago said.
The Coyotes have been plagued by injuries along with a smaller roster (10) and were hobbled by their weakness and an unsteady game led to 28 costly turnovers.
“There is no easy way to say it but the fact that we have so many girls that are injured or banged up this year [affected our play],” Denair head coach Daniel Rodriguez said. “TC was all over the place, we couldn’t keep up because our passes were all over the place…. unfortunately, on homecoming night.”
Not only was the offense consistent for the Eagles, but the TC defense allowed the Coyotes to score only two points in the first quarter.
The Eagles then extended the lead to 20 by the halfway mark after McCalister Russell knocked down a buzzer beater to put her squad up 27-7.
This continued into the final quarter as the Eagles defense did not allow the Coyotes to reach double digits in scoring in either quarter.
“Most of us grew up playing basketball together, so we know a little bit about each other. We just work well as a team since we can remember and also playing defense helped,” TC sophomore Meghan Mark said.
Aggressive defense from the Eagles, along with a high number of missed shots for the Coyotes led to easy transitioning points for the Eagles who were led by Mark for the night.
Mark was able to knock down a game-high 12 points to go with her seven steals and two assists. Sophomore Aimee Jones tallied nine rebounds, six assists and four points.
“I believe we came out confident and knowing we could come away with a win, but we pushed harder than the last time we played them. We came out strong as a team, not as one but together,” Mark said. “Getting steals and passes from my teammates helped; my team is what makes me able to get baskets, not by myself.”
Coyote senior workhorse Jordan DeJarnett finished with seven points, 10 boards and three steals.
“I knew TC would put a lot of pressure on us, so the plan was to pass-pass then shoot it. In other games we've been hot from three-point range, but not today, I knew if we didn’t knock down the shots it would be a long night,” said Denair coach Daniel Rodriguez. “TC played well and coach Santiago does a good job, they physically and mentally beat us. It’s been a rough year, we have just had a hard time.”
The Coyotes will go to Gustine to square off against the Redskins at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.
With only two games left and the opportunity to capture that second place spot, the Eagles of TC will travel to play against the Grizzlies of Mariposa at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.