When Turlock Christian traveled to Mariposa earlier in the season to face off against the Grizzlies they had a handful of players out due to the flu and it transcended into an 85-58 league loss.
This time around, however, the Eagles of TC had their entire squad healthy but unfortunately the first-place Grizzlies in the Southern Athletic League were not the slightest bit nervous as they managed to control the pace of the game from start to finish as the Eagles dropped a 38-65 game in Friday night’s Valentine’s league matchup.
“We played them [Mariposa] all summer so we sort of knew who they were and we felt ready to play, you just don’t win games standing around and watching the ball, you need to attack the loose ball and crash the boards and you need to have that fire to win the game and tonight we didn’t have that fire,” TC head coach Eddie Sai said.
Fortunately for TC, the loss does not affect their postseason hopes as they dropped to 17-9 overall and 9-4 in the SAL but still sit in that third place position in the Division-VI playoff bracket.
It was a struggling night offensively for the Eagles who would score only 13 points in the first half with the score reading 33-13.
Things got going a little for the Eagles on offense in the second but the Grizzlies were quick at responding with baskets of their own as they were on fire from the perimeter despite being outmatched by the size of TC.
“When you only score 13 first half points you’re not going to win,” Sai said. “The game plan was to get the ball inside and bank it in, but we got behind very early on and couldn’t make up for it. I was glad we had Mariposa now, because a lot of teams are smaller than us and it was a good wake up call.”
Aside from the inability to rebound in an off night, TC was hit with several foul calls. Four different players finished the game with at least four fouls, Jordan Riise (4), Brady Turner (4), Ben Van Vliet (4) and Josh Wright (5).
Turnovers were also major factors in the loss, as a team the Eagles turned the ball over 21 times.
“Our guys were trying to hurry up the passes and push it. They pushed so fast that they turned it over and made turnovers and that kills you,” Sai said.
The leading scorer for the Eagles was Van Vliet who finished with a team-high 14 points and 8 rebounds.
TC will end their regular season in a SAL bout against Waterford as the Eagles will host them on Tuesday with a starting time of 7:30 p.m.