Presence in the Paint

Gilroy's Dana Schoeneman dives to save a ball as Kelsey Russel,

Mustangs dominate boards to beat ‘Balers for second time this
– The game plan was simple for Gilroy. Limit the damage done on
the outside by Vanessa Farias and Elena Fata, and keep Megan
Halstead from hurting the Mustangs inside.
Gilroy – The game plan was simple for Gilroy.

Limit the damage done on the outside by Vanessa Farias and Elena Fata, and keep Megan Halstead from hurting the Mustangs inside.

Because Gilroy was able to contain the San Benito big three Wednesday, the Mustangs were able to win the Tri-County Athletic League encounter 47-34 at Bob Hagen Memorial Gym.

“We were prepared for all three this time,” GHS coach James Wilkins said. “Our preparation at practice was so concentrated on this game at hand. In the first half, I think we did some really good things. In the second half, I felt we played more not to lose than to win.”

By halftime, the Mustangs (14-5 overall, 6-2 TCAL) led 28-16 and owned the backboards by a 22-11 margin. Whereas they may have been in defensive mode in the second half, the Haybalers (6-14, 3-6) never got closer than nine.

“Basically, we knew we had to shut down their main two players (Farias and Fata) and see what the others could do,” GHS senior frontcourt player Dana Schoeneman said. “I think we only allowed two field goals inside. We pretty much dominated the inside.”

The Mustangs had a 47-20 advantage on the backboards with Schoeneman, Vanessa Wilkins and Russhelle Preeshl getting nine rebounds each. Angela Silveira had eight. Wilkins and Preeshl had 10 points apiece, with Preeshl only missing one of her five shots.

Farias and Fata each scored 12 points, but neither was able to find an offensive rhythm and the ‘Balers were held to their lowest point total in TCAL games. And San Benito coach Al Rowe was disappointed that his girls were looking to shoot first rather than seeing what was available inside.

“Halstead didn’t get enough touches,” Rowe said of his sophomore frontcourt player, who had averaged almost 11 points over the last five TCAL contests but had just five shots and six points. “We instructed the guards that before they take their outside shots that they needed to look inside. That wasn’t happening.

“Give Gilroy credit. They have a good swarming defense. They’re bigger than us inside and they really controlled the boards.”

Gilroy’s Amanda Spellman and Fata traded two free throws before the Mustangs took off on a seven-point run. Halstead brought San Benito within 9-6 with four straight points. But Gilroy scored the last five points of the quarter, including a buzzer-beater by Wilkins from just inside halfcourt to make it 14-6 after one quarter. Silveira’s seven points in the second quarter helped the Mustangs forge their halftime lead.

“We’re in pretty good position,” Schoeneman said of Gilroy’s record heading into a crucial two-game swing with North Salinas and Salinas. “We haven’t reached our peak yet either, which is good. Communication and seeing each other on the whole court so we get more open shots could be better.”

Sub-varsity: Gilroy made it a clean sweep for the evening as its junior varsity team won 38-28 and its freshman team prevailed 18-11. The GHS freshmen are now 13-1 on the season.

San Benito (34)-O’Brien 0, Fata 12, Farias 12, Russel 1, Soza 0, O’Laughlin 1, Halstead 6, Travis 2, Cosalegno 0, Bugarin 0. Totals 10 10-18 34.

Gilroy (47)-Tabilas 0, Schoeneman 8, A. Spellman 2, L. Spellman 4, Wilkins 10, Solorio 4, Preeshl 10, Silveira 8, Magill 1. Totals 18 9-13 47.

San Benito 6 10 11 7 – 34

Gilroy 14 14 9 10 – 47

3-point goals: SB, Fata 2, Farias 2. Gil, Wilkins 2.

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