Confidence boost

Gilroy High boys hoops team topples Alvarez, Alisal

Sports Editor

SALINAS – Back-to-back double-doubles via junior forward Kyle Loving resulted in two straight wins for the resurgent Gilroy High boys basketball team – which notched a 56-53 victory over Alvarez on Friday and a 56-52 triumph over Alisal on Monday.

“It gives us a lot of confidence. It gets us on the right track and it lets us know that we can play with good teams,” said head coach Michael Baumgartner, whose squad lifted its non-league record to 6-8. “We needed these wins going into league because it gives us the confidence.”

With seniors Danny Vadillo (broken nose) and Blair Wortham (disciplinary action) on the bench, the Mustangs needed someone to step up big-time and Loving was the man – finishing with a team-high 21 points and 10 rebounds against Alvarez.

“It was just above and beyond the call of duty. He just stepped up,” said Baumgartner of Loving, who also went 11-of-13 from the charity stripe. “He took control of the boards and he took control of the scoring.”

Sophomore forward Vince Mitre followed up with a 10-point, four-rebound effort to help the Mustangs’ cause.

Gilroy led by six at the half – but “never really pulled away” in the final two quarters. Alvarez had a chance to tie the score at the end, but it did not fall.

Keeping the same intensity, the Mustangs traveled to Alisal – the 15th ranked team in the Central Coast Section – and stunned the rowdy hometown crowd.

Junior guard Brandt Chacon led the way with a team-high 22 points as the Mustangs clinged to a 25-21 halftime lead.

“He had a lot of field goals and he went 7-of-8 from the line in the fourth quarter,” said Baumgartner of Chacon.

Gilroy’s lead turned into a four-point deficit by the end of the third quarter, but exploded for a 21-point fourth quarter to pull back ahead.

“They all shot the ball well,” said Baumgartner of his players. “Vince Mitre came in and hit a three in the fourth quarter. Ron Colmon, who did not play the entire first half, came in and hit a three and gets a steal. He played really well.”

Loving tallied his second straight double-double with a 10-point, 12-rebound effort, while senior center Erik Tollison added eight points and 12 rebounds.

“We dominated the boards, but that didn’t happen until the second half,” Baumgartner said.

The Mustangs have more than a week off before their Jan. 18 home league opener against Salinas at 7 p.m.

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