For the first time in a roller-coaster postseason, Immanuel High's boys finally put together four quarters of quality basketball. And after the first eight minutes of play on Feb. 23, the Dinuba Emperors didn't stand a chance as the Eagles put on a show at Fresno's Selland Arena.
The Eagles (22-8) took charge with a 16-5 second quarter, then dominated the rest of the way while limiting Dinuba (24-8) to 34 percent shooting from the field in a 70-39 rout in the Central Section Division 3 finals. It marked Immanuel's sixth consecutive section championship – the second straight at Division 3 after three in Division 4 (2015-2017) and one in Division 5 (2014).
"It's amazing. The past two years I've been here, it's an awesome feeling," said senior forward Kaleb Daglish, who earned the "Fighting Spirit" award after scoring 13 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. "We knew [Dinuba] didn't have experience in this [level of] game, but we did. So that was a big factor. One of our main [goals] was to get them tired early."
Mission accomplished, as the Eagles pressed the tempo in key spots and applied defensive pressure while taking away the inside. They limited the Emperors — who rely on a strong three-point shooting game – to just 6 of 25 (24 percent) from beyond the arc and 15 of 44 overall. Led by Daglish, they held a 36-24 advantage on the boards and forced 19 turnovers.
Senior guard Jordan Rodriguez had just one three-pointer, but it opened the game and kick-started a 7-0 run that kept Immanuel in front from the opening tap. The Eagles built an early 10-point lead before a pair of three-pointers by Josh Magana helped Dinuba close the gap to 12-11 by the end of the quarter.
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