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SPOILER ALERT: Yuba City crushes River Valley's title hopes
Honkers rout Falcons 72-54
Not a lot went right for the Yuba City High boys basketball team this season.
In the Honkers' seven Tri-County Conference losses this year, they lost by an average of five points and had a chance to win in the fourth quarter. It didn't help that All-TCC guard Gurpreet Singh missed the majority of conference play with a slight tear of his ACL.
The program's streak of five consecutive TCC titles and Sac-Joaquin Section playoff appearances ended this season, but that didn't mean the Honkers weren't going to put everything on the line on Tuesday night at Honker Gym in the regular-season finale — they had to, River Valley was coming in.
If the Honkers' TCC title run was going to end, they weren't going to let their biggest rival clinch the crown on their home floor.
Singh's knee may be wrapped up, but that didn't stop the Yuba City student section from hoisting him and several other Honkers on their shoulders following Yuba City's 72-54 victory.
The Honkers spoiled the Falcons' hopes of clinching their first TCC crown. Inderkum (8-2 in TCC play) beat Natomas 51-37 to claim the title outright — the Tigers' first ever TCC championship.
River Valley (16-11, 7-3) will discover its playoff fate when the Sac-Joaquin Section releases its brackets today. The Falcons, who are in the postseason for the first time in program history, will be part of the Division-III field and likely hit the road for the first round.
Even with all of the disappointment this season, Yuba City coach Brian Davis said his team never gave up once.
"That's what I love about this team — they could have folded 10 games ago, but they didn't," Davis said. "We were in every game this season except for maybe two. The heart and the love out there I have for this team right now, you can't beat it."
After falling behind 14-9 in the first quarter, Yuba City (11-15, 3-7) became lethal from behind-the-arc in the second quarter as the Honkers nailed five consecutive 3-pointers.
Kyle Turnquest, Tanner McAlister and Travis Blas nailed three straight 3s to start the second quarter, as the Honkers took an 18-14 lead they wouldn't relinquish. Junior Aran Dhillon added a two-handed dunk to make Honker Gym erupt, and Blas and McAlister each hit one more trey each as Yuba City stormed into the locker room with a 32-25 lead.
On Senior Night, it was freshman Turnquest who stole the show as the Florida transplant showed off some nice agility and athleticism with several acrobatic drives to the basket. He scored 16 points for the Honkers.
"We wanted to make these seniors go out proud in their final game," Turnquest said. "I just wanted to go out and play the game of basketball and not let anything get to me."
The Honkers continued their torrid pace in the third quarter when Blas connected on consecutive 3s and Louis Mowers hit a 3 of his own.
Yuba City continued its shooting frenzy in the fourth when the Honkers hit a gaudy four straight 3s to extend their lead to 25 points, the biggest lead of the night.
Overall, Yuba City finished with 14 3-pointers.
"We had a great practice (Monday)," Davis said. "We needed some redemption for all of the games that went wrong before. We just packaged all of that up and put it in for this game."
McAlister led Yuba City with 21 points and five 3-pointers. Blas nailed four 3s for 12 points and senior Taylor Elkins helped set them up with six assists and six rebounds.
T.J. Dove was River Valley's leading scorer with 16 points and Jordan Noall scored 10 points to go with six rebounds.
River Valley coach Brad McIntire wasn't disheartened by the loss and told his team to put it behind them as the Falcons prepare for their first-ever postseason run.
"It doesn't matter what the records are, you can pretty much throw them out of the door in a rivalry game," McIntire said. "Tonight was a reality check — they just played better than us.
"We just have to shake it off and get back to work starting Thursday."
CONTACT Jimmy Graben at email@example.com or 749-4791. Find him on Facebook at advarsitysports or on Twitter at @ADjgraben