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Tod Denison, Garces girls basketball coach

Rarely does a successful season have such a stark turning point, a moment when it all clicked, as Garces’ 31-4 campaign had this season.

Tod Denison, the BVarsity Girls Basketball Coach of the Year, remembers it well.

“It was after a game we lost against Morro Bay, and I hadn’t been sleeping very well,” Denison said. “We spent a long time in the locker room, probably 40 minutes, and I sat down with them.

“I said, ‘We can get it together, or we can throw the whole season away.’ There were some things that needed to be addressed.”

Denison’s main beef — one with which his players would later agree — was that the Rams were playing as individuals instead of as a team.

Whatever Denison said worked. Eight days later, Garces beat Morro Bay by 35 points, and the Rams wouldn’t lose again for three months, after they had won the program’s second Central Section title and won a state playoff game.

“I want them to have fun,” Denison said. “I’m intense, but winning is fun and working together is fun. We had a good team; we knew we had all the pieces to the puzzle, and we just had to make them fit.”

— ZACH EWING

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