Gilroy girls use 23-0 second-half run to pull away
Salinas – Must have been quite the halftime speech.
For much of the first half of Tuesday’s game at Alisal, the Gilroy girls’ basketball team struggled against the Trojans.
The Mustangs trailed 11-8 after the first quarter, and only after a late push, took a 24-20 lead into the break. Despite the lead, they were outrebounded and committed six turnovers in the second quarter alone.
“At the half, I just told them to take control of the tempo,” GHS head coach Kari Williams said. “And that’s what started to happen. The press started to work.”
Did it ever.
The two teams split the first eight points of the second half before the Mustangs erupted on a 23-0 run. In a matter of minutes, a tight 28-24 game became a 51-24 runaway.
Gilroy (11-6) ended up cruising to a 63-41 victory in its final tuneup before TCAL play, which kicks off against San Benito Friday at 7pm in Hollister.
In that decisive third quarter, Katherine Hussey went 5-for-5 for 10 points, Amanda Link contributed eight more, and Michelle DiFiore pulled down five rebounds.
“Everybody was on,” said Hussey, who finished with a game-high 22 points.
The junior was one of several Mustangs who simply started hitting the open shots they were missing before halftime.
“We took good shots in the first half – they just weren’t going in,” Williams said. “In the second half we started making them.”
According to Williams, much of that success had to do with Gilroy’s distribution of the ball.
“We passed so well tonight,” she said. “Instead of 10-foot shots, we were making good passes and getting 6-foot shots or easy layups.”
It wasn’t just an offensive show, though. The Mustangs (11-6) turned up the heat on the defense – and it showed.
“A lot of times when teams get pressured,” Link said, “they start to sort of get nervous and get rattled.”
Chalk Alisal up as both.
Against a relentless Gilroy defense, the Trojans (7-9) lost nine turnovers in the third quarter and tallied 29 for the game. They were also outrebounded 14-5 after the break.
This coming from a team that recently lost to defending TCAL champ Notre Dame by a mere six points and then to defending CCS champ Salinas by just five.
“They made a lot of mistakes and we started to capitalize,” said Williams, who called the final 16 minutes the best half of the year for the Mustangs.
“When you start to get on a run like that, it just feeds off itself,” she added. “Momentum … that’s what it’s all about.”
Gilroy can only hope that momentum carries over to Friday night against its archrival.
“I think that’s the big thing that helped push us tonight,” said Link, who finished with 12 points and eight rebounds. “This was our last preseason game and we wanted to play well to get ready for Hollister.
“We all know that’s a big game.”