It was a downer for a team that caught a huge wave of community support and attention after their star teammate left them in the lurch in midseason.
The top-seeded Sacramento High boys were outplayed tonight in falling 63-51 at home to a motivated El Cerrito bunch in the CIF Northern California Regional Division III boys basketball semifinals in the Dave Hotell Pavilion.
The loss denied Sacramento a chance to play in a fourth consecutive NorCal D-III championship game.
El Cerrito (25-7) was bent on avenging an early season loss to the Dragons (27-6) in the Gridley Tournament, a win for Sacramento when star senior guard Josiah Turner, one of the nation's top players, was still with the team.
The Gouchos did it by continuously beating the Dragons in transition, seeming to win every contested ball and making plays whenever the Dragons appeared they were about to get something going.
El Cerrito's 6-foot-7 senior center Eric Nelson, not at all intimidated by the Dragons' 6-11 Robert Garrett, led his team with 20 points. Junior wing Justin Johnson added 15 points and senior guard Jabri Jenkins 12.
Sophomore De'von Boyd topped Sacramento with 13 points, Erik Kinney had 12 and Garrett and Darius Graham nine each.
The Dragons scored the first basket, then trailed the rest of the way. Garrett picked up his second foul with 3:59 to play in the first quarter and spent most of the first half on the bench.
El Cerrito led by 19 points, 43-24, early in the third quarter before Sacramento closed to within seven points, 57-50, with 2:08 to play on a Graham basket. El Cerrito outscored Sac 6 to 1 the rest of the way.
Before losing tonight, Sacramento had gone 17-4 and won its third consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section D-III title without Turner.