Beaten by the ‘Balers

Turnovers, Sharp do in ‘Stangs as archrival rallies for late
win
For three quarters Thursday night, the Hollister boys’ basketball team couldn’t figure out the Gilroy zone.

But when they did, the Haybalers entered a zone of their own.

Trailing by three at both halftime and the end of the third, Hollister finally knocked down its open shots in a dominating fourth quarter and beat back the Mustangs’ upset attempt with a 49-38 victory at GHS.

“Our kids faced adversity and they came through tonight,” Hollister head coach David Kaplansky said. “I think Gilroy just ran out of gas in the fourth.”

League MVP Kyle Sharp, despite being double- and triple-teamed, led the Haybalers with 26 points and 10 rebounds. For awhile, though, the senior post was Hollister’s lone source of offense.

“We were pretty good for three quarters,” GHS head coach Bud Ogden said.

Usually a potent group from outside the arc, the ‘Balers (16-2/1-0 TCAL) missed nine consecutive 3s from midway through the first quarter to halfway through the fourth.

“They came out to stop us with the zone and I think that surprised us,” Sharp said. “But one of the reasons it killed us is because the 3s weren’t coming down. It took us awhile, but then we got it figured out.”

The 3-pointers never really came – the ‘Balers finally hit one more in the fourth, but that was it. The key was getting the ball inside and either drawing a foul – Hollister attemped 22 free-throws in the fourth – or popping it out and hitting the open mid-range shot.

“We had it figured out for awhile, and then just seemed to get complacent,” Ogden said. “We just broke down a bit down the stretch. And they made a few key jumpers when they had to, and we didn’t.”

For the Mustangs (11-8/0-1 TCAL), led in scoring by Jeremy Teschera and Calvin Kretz (9 points each), the game simply got too sloppy. They were able to get away with nine turnovers in the third, when both teams struggled.

But in the fourth, eight more turnovers proved to be too many. Gilroy totaled 25 for the game.

Many of them came after the ‘Stangs took their largest lead of the game. By the end of the first quarter, they were trailing 18-12. But they held the powerful ‘Baler offense to just four points in the second and just six in the third. At one point, Hollister went nearly eight minutes without scoring.

“We played some awesome defense for most of the game,” GHS center Mark Kennedy said.

After Gilroy went up 31-26, though, Hollister tore off on a 10-0 run that turned into a 19-3 run that sealed the deal. Until a last-second bucket by Dominik Wilkins, Teschera’s jumper early on was the only Mustang basket in the fourth quarter.

Three key blocks by Sharp didn’t help matters.

“Gilroy did a great job – we knew they would,” Kaplansky said. “Every team in the league wants to beat us. If they beat us, it makes their season.

“So we just have to take it one game at a time in this difficult, difficult league.”

As for the Mustangs, Ogden said he was OK with opening the league season by playing toe-to-toe with the overwhelming league favorite. During last year’s 2-8 TCAL campaign, the Mustangs lost to the ‘Balers by 25 at home.

“I think we played as good as we have all year,” he said. “I was very encouraged. I told the guys to walk out with their heads up, because they’ve improved tremendously over the last few weeks.

“They’re not peaking, but they are certainly getting better and better.”

Gilroy looks to rebound with a trip to Palma on Wednesday. The rematch with Hollister comes Feb. 3.

Not all is lost

The Mustang junior varsity squad waited until overtime to take its first lead of the game against Hollister Friday.

That was a good time to take it.

Gilroy trailed 24-13 after the first quarter and simply couldn’t stop the ‘Balers from behind the arc, where they connected on 11 3s for the game.

The ‘Stangs slowly chipped away at the lead, though, and tied it up late in the fourth. Hollister missed the front end of a one-and-one and the game went into OT, where GHS guard Christian Cania scored the session’s only two baskets.

Gilroy eked out the 64-62 win and improved to 16-3 on the year. The Mustangs were led by Chris Yates (15 pts) and Jason Conrad (10 pts).

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