Tuesday’s college signing of Turlock Christian High’s Zach Silva capped off what was one of the most memorable and successful seasons for in the Eagles boys basketball team’s program history.
Silva, who was arguably the catalyst to a team that reached the program’s first ever Sac-Joaquin Section Championship game, and first berth into the CIF State Tournament, signed his National Letter of Intent to Boyce College in Louisville, Kentucky, to continue his dream.
“Coach talked to me and said I can make a big impact my first year. Their team is very young, they have a bunch of sophomores and just two seniors graduated,” said Silva. “The coach was welcoming, and they need a player to fill that spot and they saw my film and thought it would be a good fit. I went to visit for four days and it went well. My dream is to come back and play back home here in Cali. I don't know what God has instore for me in the future, but go first year there and see what happens.”
Following three losing seasons at Turlock Christian, Silva and his teammates welcomed a young phenom head coach in Travis Thompson who was already known for turning things around rather quickly.
“We put up a lot of points some nights this year and we had the players for it. Defensive set was awesome and first coach to run a 4-1, which is unheard of before, and it worked, it was just awesome,” said Silva.
TC went on a wild run in the SJS playoffs, taking down the No. 1 and No. 4 seeds.
First No. 8 TC toppled No. 9 Alpha Charter in an 80-75 victory to advance into the second round to face the No. 1 seed, Stockton Christian, which had just lost four times heading into that game.
With the help of Silva’s 26 points, 7 assists and 8 rebounds — and Thompson’s dynamic game plan — the TC Eagles overcame many obstacles to pull off the upset of the tournament with a final of 65-58.
The win propelled TC into the semifinal game against league foe Big Valley Christian.
Following a wild game, Silva came through again for the Eagles with 26 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals. Silva also dropped four of the team’s seven threes for the game that launched them into new waters that had never been seen before.
TC went into the Section final against No. 3 Vacaville Christian under the lights at the Golden One Center in Sacramento. It was a tough battle for Silva and his squad and they fell, 58-45.
Following the loss, TC still earned a berth in the CIF State Nor Cal Division-VI Tournament but fell to the No. 1 seed, and eventual champions, 79-48.
They ended the season with an overall record of 17-15.
It was the first winning season for the program since 2013-14, when the Eagles went 18-10.
This past season, Silva averaged 15.2 points per game, 5.4 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game while shooting 42 percent from three-point range.
Silva worked has hard as he could, staying committed throughout the four years and four days a week he would be taking 500 shots a day.
“Obviously, he is one of the hardest-working kids I ever coached so you root and pull for guys like that,” said Thompson. “Our first year, we made history obviously, and I am so glad for him to be able to continue his career since he is an incredible talent and excited and thankful for Boyce. He earned and deserved it.”
Silva is still hopeful that his talent and ability will land him on a Division-I program and he could transfer, but only time will tell.
“My dream is to play Division-I basketball closer to home so now I am in the process of the offseason, but I am always in the weight room to make sure I can compete with bigger athletes, doing a lot of lifting, watching game film and learning how to be a better point guard,” Silva added.