Turlock Christian High’s goal for its 2013-14 boys basketball season is simple—show the Southern League that its team is a top-three squad and make the playoffs.
With that—and the recent change to post-season qualifications—in mind, TC has riddled its pre-league schedule with challenging opponents. On Saturday, the Eagles continued their pre-league campaign and gave a SL opponent and rival, Denair High, an early message in the third-place game of the Coyote’s home tournament.
While TC will have to wait to prove its top tier status in league, its boys were able to show their ability with a 64-46 victory and earn a third place finish in the Denair Tournament.
“It was our fourth game in a row, so we were a little mentally fatigued starting out in that last game against Denair, and so I had to bring them out and have a little talk to get them going again,” TC head coach Eddie Sai said. “I told them it’s been a long stretch. I knew with finals week that they were mentally drained, so I was just trying to get them to play for that last half of the game and of focus on basketball.”
Fresh off a mentally and physically taxing loss to Central Valley High a day prior, the Eagles came out a little slow as the two SL teams knotted and even first period at ten points apiece. The second period was a different story, however, as TCs big men—Brady Turner and Kameron Vogt— began working the glass and its offense more than doubles Denair’s output.
By halftime the scoreboard read 26-17.
TC continued to build momentum in the third period with its best offensive outpouring of the night. Jordan Riise joined the duo of Wright and Turner to score 23 points in the third before notching another 15 points in the fourth period.
“They’re very scrappy. We just weren’t there (early in the game), and they stayed around until we pulled away in the end,” Sai said of Denair.
All three Eagles finished the night with double digit scoring stats as Wright scored 14 points, Riise scored 13 points, and Turner scored 10 points. Turner also nabbed ten rebounds for a double-double.
“As a team, we’ve progressed well because there’s no selfish ball players. They don’t’ care who gets the points as long as we get the W at the end of the night,” Sai said. “We’re blessed to have that core group that would rather have assists than points.”
TC must now gear up for the final leg of its pre-league schedule—which includes games against Victory Christian and Atwater High—before its Jan 07 SL opener against Delhi High.
“We’ve played some good teams and we still have Atwater coming up right before league,” Sai said. “We’re having real tough competition before league because this year only the top three teams go to play offs. And we see ourselves as top three.”