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TC eliminated in first round of Div. VI State Tournament
McCalister Russell TC girls basketball
TCs McCalister Russell, pictured here during preseason play, returns as a key senior for the Eagles next season after Wednesdays loss to Ferndale High. - photo by Journal file photo

The girls’ basketball season is officially over for Turlock Christian High after Wednesday’s 42-62 loss to Ferndale High in the first round of the CIF NorCal Division VI Girls Basketball Championships.

“We left the game on the court. We had nothing else left to give,” TC head coach Edwin Santiago said.

Fresh off their loss to Valley Christian High in the Sac-Joaquin Section Div. VI Championship game, the Eagles traveled to face the North Coast Division VI runner ups in their fifth appearance in a State Tournament in the past six seasons.

TC had a slow start with only six points in the first quarter but managed to get its offense moving with 14 second-quarter points. Ferndale, on the other hand, was consistent throughout as they utilized its shooting guards and strong post presence to put up 15 points in the first period and 16 points in the second to go into halftime with a 31-20 lead.

“It didn’t matter if we played them in Turlock or in Ferndale, they were good. They were legit,” Santiago said.

The Wildcats kept the pressure on the Eagles in the second half with consistent scoring from Rachelle Regli and Bailey Collings and proved to be too much for TC’s girls.

“In the end, they were just better than us,” Santiago said.

Regli finished with 21 points and Collings finished with 17 points. As for TC, Cassie Balswick and McCalister Russell each scored 12 points while Hannah Sawyer finished with 10 points.

“Together they’re the tandem that makes us strong,” Santiago said of Balswick and McCalister. “They both play their positions well and without either one of them we’re weakened.”

Wednesday not only marked the end of the season for TC, it also marked the end of high school basketball for five seniors. Still, with nine juniors returning as seniors next season, the Eagles are expected to be a veteran team with a plan to return to both the SJS Div. VI Championships and the State Tournament.

“The positive end of that is it leaves you hungry wanting to go back, to try to get it and capture it,” Santiago said of the loss. “We’re hungry for next year.”