Turlock Christian and Denair High’s girls’ basketball teams met for a Southern Athletic League showdown on Thursday night.
Home field advantage and a third quarter run was enough for the Eagles of TC to take over late in the game against a visiting Coyotes as they rallied and pulled off a 56-39 win.
“We have to play four quarters of basketball, we can’t just play three because we know what’s going to happen,” Denair head coach Daniel Rodriguez said. “I think we just got tired, got out beat. We have to continue to work hard and condition and keep going with our heads held high.”
The game was up in the air by the start of the third quarter and Denair found themselves down by only one possession as the score read 20-17.
An 18-10 run in the third followed by a 16-12 surge in the fourth proved to be enough for TC despite the heavy load of fouls called — 33.
“I think our half-court trap frustrated them in the third and I feel that was the turning point for us. We went on run a few times and that really helped us,” TC head coach Edwin Santiago said. “It was a tightly called game but we need to adjust to those things, we were fortunate to not have anybody foul out — everybody maintained their composure.”
Four players had at least four fouls before the start of the final quarter, but this didn’t phase the Eagles, who were led offensively by sophomore Cassie Balswick.
Balswick accumulated 15 of her 24 game-high points in the second half alone, adding on five steals and five assists.
“Coach [Edwin] really helped us by motivating us during halftime. I just thought we worked better as a team in the second half,” Balswick said. “I feel that today we united together and that is how we were able to pull together for the win, it wasn’t just one person it was a team effort.”
On the Coyotes side, a heavy workload came from Katelea Petty, Paige Shipman and Ashley Ramaley as all three played major minutes, but still couldn’t overcome the offensive outburst from the Eagles inside the paint.
Shipman tallied on a team-high 10 points while Ramaley was right behind with nine.
“Meghan Mark was also a vital player in the game and Aimee Jones who doesn’t show up on the stats, but both did a great job in helping out to get the turnovers in order for us to go on that run — they stood out to me,” Santiago added.
“These girls really wanted to beat TC, they tried very hard and the effort was there for three quarters. We just hope to get ‘em at our house next,” Rodriguez said about the game. “We’re getting better every day. We just hope to get that win against them.”
Next for the Eagles of TC will be another tough SAL matchup as they will host Mariposa at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
“We have a big game against Mariposa, and we want to take our motivation into next week which will be a good game and hoping to get that win,” Balswick said.
Denair will be at home as they host SAL rivals Gustine High at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.