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TC girls win third straight during homecoming matchup
Turlock Christian's Aimee Jones attempts a basket while being strongly covered by her Lions opponent during Saturday's homecoming game held at Cal State Stanislaus. - photo by CANDY PADILLA / The Journal

The Turlock Christian High (14-7) girls basketball team is on a roll.

The Eagles have now won six of their last seven, with their latest victory coming on homecoming night on Saturday against Big Valley Christian, 52-39.

In a game that was held at the California State University, Stanislaus' Warrior Arena, the Eagles did not lose focus playing on a different court and instead out-rebounded and out-performed the Lions to win their third straight Central California Athletic Alliance contest.

“Alexis Smith was the player of the game as we looked to score inside and take advantage of our advantages inside the paint,” said TC head coach Edwin Santiago about the first year player for TC.

Smith recently transferred from Vanguard in Empire and began playing for Santiago less than one week into the new year. The transfer proved vital in the game after finishing with a double-double adding on 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Despite a poor shooting percentage performance for the night (16 percent) head coach Santiago knew exactly what needed to be done in order to come away with the victory.

“The keys to the game were to win the rebounding game on the offensive glass and to make more free throws than Big Valley,” Santiago said.

TC finished the night with 22 free-throws made while Big Valley only had 10.

The Eagles dominated the rebounding game, out-rebounding the Lions 64-40. The Eagles also forced the Lions to turn the ball over 40 times, as opposed to the Eagles' 14.

“To their credit, Big Valley did not give up fighting and competing as they were able to keep the game close until the end,” said Santiago.

TC jumped out to a 16-8 lead after the first quarter but by the end of the third the Lions had cut the deficit by only six points at 30-36.

With the help of Hannah Sawyer's 14 point performance and McCalister Russell's nine point and 11 rebound night, the Eagles notched the win at the end with a 16-9 run.

“Hannah and Cali really helped secure the victory,” Santiago added.

The Eagles are now 4-1 in league sitting in second place with only five games remaining.

The next game for TC will be senior night at home against Millenium High (3-1) at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.